The peak body for Australia's farm and machinery field days is seeking government support for a five-year recovery package to ensure they survive the big financial impact of coronavirus.
Many field days have had to be cancelled, some literally at the last minute, because of crowd restrictions due to COVID-19 which has caused heavy losses.
Field days which have been lost this year include Dowerin in WA, Eyre Peninsula in SA and Sheepvention and Farm World in Victoria.
Others including AgQuip at Gunnedah and FarmFest at Toowomba have been postponed to later in the year which could reduce exhibitor numbers.
The Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia (AAFDA) is now asking the Federal Government to provide emergency support.
AAFDA's secretary and the manager of the Tocal Field Days in the NSW Hunter, Wendy Franklin, will meet local federal member, David Gillespie, late this afternoon to discuss the funding of a survival plan.
Ms Franklin said interest free loans would help event committees get back on their feet and set up future events.
Field days generated millions of dollars which are injected back into local and regional communities through extra business activity, grants and charity donations.
A big field day like Henty in the NSW Riverina, which is still proceeding on September 22-24, would generate around $8 million and attract 60,000 or 70,000 visitors, she said.
"Field days play a vital role in educating the community about the importance of agriculture, and its contribution to Australian's kitchens and to the economy," Ms Franklin said.
They connect farmers to suppliers and each other to facilitate innovation and best practice farming," she said.
"In addition to the economic benefits, charities and community groups rely on field days for fundraising, exposure and support to rural communities."
Ms Franklin said most field days were run using volunteer committees with often part time support from a paid event co-ordinator.
"They don't have big reserves of money. Those committees and the community will benefit from funding and support to give committee members and staff new skills in business management, digital marketing and using social media".
She said farmers and field days had successfully battled flood, drought, fires and, with support, they would survive coronavirus.
AAFDA represents 21 field days events in Australia and New Zealand.