As the gates opened on the 46th annual AgQuip on Tuesday morning nobody quite knew what to expect with the industry crippled by drought.
While many thought numbers might be down, the first bit of good news was that all 3000 stalls were filled, and when the gates opened a “typical sized” large crowd began to pour in to the “Agquip of the future.”
Agquip generally caters for 100,000 visitors, and after day one this year is expected to be about the same, although according to Fairfax Rural Events Manager Kate Nugent there is a major difference.
“This year has such a different feeling, there has been just such a calm as we worked through our set-up period, the exhibitors are calm and we are reasonably calm,” she said.
“There is a philosophical understanding that there is not going to be big sales, but an obvious expectation of big leads, so this is Agquip of the future.
“This is about what happens in 12 months time, hoping that we have had the rains and seasons have improved, so hopefully those exhibitors can turn those leads into sales.”
Peel Valley Machinery Sales Director Steve John has been to every Agquip for 36 years straight, and said that this year the biggest promotional opportunity of the year may serve an even greater purpose for agricultural stakeholders.
“I think the crowd has been quite strong for a Tuesday,” Mr John said.
“I hope that over the three days local farmers can take a day off – it is free to get in and it is a great day – even if it is just to get off their property and have a chat and a look.”
“Exhibitors like us are here to show them that we are here with them, and we will still be here for them when it turns around.”
Ms Nugent agreed, confirming that the event has already given a heartwarming insight into just how much support there is within all aspects of the industry.
“We have been hearing that there is a big care factor coming out of the exhibitors – it has been absolutely amazing for us as organisers to see that respect for Agquip, and respect for the rural communities,” she said.
“It shows how great and how strong the spirit of Australian agriculture is. There is a new focus and that focus is on those people doing it hard – we are all in this together.”