Results from the 2018 Agricultural Shows Australia Survey.
By ASA Director Lyndsey Douglas
Australians attend at least one agricultural show a year whether it’s for the competitions, the livestock, the rides, the entertainment, the produce or a mix of it all.
Agricultural Shows Australia’s recent survey showed that over 3.5million people go to country and regional Shows each year.
Country Show attendance varies but the national average attendance sits at 6,346 per Show. What is truly remarkable about these Shows is the amount of effort and passion that goes into each one.
The ASA Survey showed that in one year, there are more than 1.56 million hours invested in Shows by volunteers.
Volunteers take the roles of chief stewards, stewards, the ringmaster, pencillers, organisers, the treasurer, publicity officers, gate-minders, so on and so forth. The average volunteer donates 121 hours of their time annually to their local country show.
The survey further highlighted that the average Show committee / society comprises 21 people, equating to 12,000 formally appointed country show volunteers in Australia.
Though nearly impossible to calculate, the country shows surveyed estimated that 2,694 volunteer hours went into preparation for their annual show.
Women are major contributors to the show movement, with over 40% of country shows having more women than men on the show society committee.
Youth engagement in show societies continues to be a critical focus for the show movement as a means to ensure relevance and engagement in the next generation of exhibitors, patrons, volunteers, and leaders, as well as the succession planning of committees, diversity of thought, the sharing of IP and historical information and the injection of innovation.
Shows strive to ensure the next generation are represented on their committees with 82% of shows reporting their committee had at least one person under 40. Shows such as Donald (Victoria), Narrogin, Bundoon and Merredin (Western Australia) and Dubbo (New South Wales) have a heavy younger contingent on their show society.
Concerningly, when shows were asked to identify the single biggest threat to the viability of their show longer term, volunteer shortage rated the highest (36.6%) while lack of key skills on committee (3%) was also mentioned.
The question is, how can shows attract and retain more talent on their committees? We want to hear what your show is doing well to keep your committee strong and success.