Bumper crowd gathers for inaugural National Ag Shows Conference

This article originally appeared in Queensland Country Life

Left to Right – Mr Paul Carter, RAS WA President, Senator Susan McDonald, Senator Bridget McKenzie, 2019 Rural Ambassador Harris Thompson, Dr Rob Wilson ASA Chair.

More than 260 people descended on the Gold Coast at the weekend to celebrate and share ideas on the future of agricultural shows across Australia and New Zealand, almost 200 years since the first Australian agricultural show was held.

Featuring International Association of Fairs and Expositions president and CEO, Marla Calico as the keynote speaker, the Agricultural Shows of Australia Inaugural Conference program theme was, Stronger Together, Building Resilient, Adaptable Shows.

ASA chairman Dr Rob Wilson said the event, which was hosted by the Queensland Ag Shows Next Generation Committee, highlighted the importance of shows and the thirst for knowledge among the show community.

“With more than 580 agricultural shows and 50,000 volunteers across the country the movement is worth $965 million, annually to the Australian economy,” he said.

“We had delegates from every state and territory in Australia in attendance, who will take home to their local shows information to help them be sustainable and adapt to changing conditions, communities and consumer attitudes.”

Qld Ag Shows Next Generation Committee president Brianna Hockey said Queensland was honoured to host the first ASA conference.

“We’re very proud that ASA chose Queensland Ag Shows Next Generation to host the conference,” she said.

“The program was carefully curated to make show members sit up and take notice so they walk away inspired to innovate and implement new ideas.”

Ms Hockey also said she and her committee were walking away from the conference energised and equipped with the tools to continue the show tradition into the new decade.

“Marla Calico said in her presentation that ‘shows change lives’, which I know is true for me,” she said.

“This conference is an example of what can be achieved through the opportunities the show movement provides.”