Primex cancelled thanks to coronavirus

Primex joins field days now cancelled over Covid

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Casino's Primex field days have been postponed until 2021.

Casino's Primex field days have been postponed until 2021.

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This year's Primex field days at Casino have been put off until 2021 after Victorian coronavirus cases soared.

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Casino's Primex agricultural field days has joined a long list of similar events fallen prey to Covid-19, cancelling its 2020 event for the first time in a 36 years history.

The field days, sponsored by local dairy co-operative Norco, had been rescheduled from May to September but manager Bruce Wright said the decision was made to postpone until 2021 after an online survey of exhibitors made it clear that there were too many headwinds right now.

Certainly the learnings from this year will help going forward, with a Covid plan now developed and an application already before the health minister asking for crowd number exemptions. Mr Wright said both of those initiatives would help smooth the way next year.

To support their exhibitors, Primex launched a free service virtual field days in early May and it remains up on their website. Similar online platforms were developed to help Agfest in Tasmania and New Zealand's National field days at Hamilton, not all of them free.

Mr Wright said a survey of Northern NSW exhibitors showed the extent of economic hurt right now in the regions with 75 per cent affected by Covid, 56pc by drought, 35pc from bushfire and 21pc still affected from the 2017 floods.

This year's pandemic had meant that many exhibitors had issues obtaining stock, exacerbated by port delays. Some machinery suppliers with no stock in the yard were facing delivery delays of between two and four months.

However he was heartened that 90pc said they would sign up to a 2021 Primex. Meanwhile local government authority Richmond Valley Council has pledged full support for next year's event.

Mr Wright said Primex Field Days generated an estimated 110 jobs, provided an immediate injection of more than $7million into the local economy, and more than $40 million in sales were generated from the event annually.

The event is part of the The Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia (AAFDA) is seeking $1 million in survival funding from Canberra to support them through the COVID-19 crisis.

AFFDA secretary, Wendy Franklin, said her organisation was still in discussion with the office of federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, and was still hopeful of getting some help.

She said AAFDA was disappointed the big machinery field days had been excluded from last week's $36 million federal support package for agricultural show societies Australia-wide.

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