A surging Wimmera agricultural sector has prompted ACE Radio Broadcasters to launch a promotional project to maintain support for the industry and region. The radio network is planning a five-day multi-media promotion in March to fill a trading void left by the cancellation of this year’s Wimmera Machinery Field Days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A broad cross-section of farm-industry businesses will run events and sales to promote products and services from March 1-5 to coincide with when the field days would normally run.
All participating businesses will also be part of a special directory where they can promote business activities in greater detail.
Horsham shed supplier McDonald Steel owner Vicki McDonald said the promotion would be a major drawcard for her family’s business.
“We decided to jump on board because we thought it was an innovative and new platform,” she said.
“Our customers will be able to interact with us virtually and we will be able to present information sessions.
“This platform will allow us to interact without actually having to be at the field days.”
Mrs McDonald said the field days would typically generate significant interest in the business.
“It’s a huge part of our business and a huge part of our repeated business,” she said.
“Generally, if we see clients at the field days, they might not want to build a shed immediately, but they might be looking six to 12 months in advance.
“We have been going to the field days since we started business more than 20 year ago – it’s been a very important part of our business.”
Mrs McDonald said she believed it was crucial to keep the spirit of the field days alive despite this year’s event being cancelled.
“It’s important to keep that going so everyone has a bit of normality and we can adapt to these changing times in a year where we can’t all gather,” she said.
“The farming-agriculture sector is a huge part of our economy.
“The community event helps us to sustain all our smaller and more unique businesses and stimulates our local communities, allowing us to provide support for our sporting clubs, service clubs and everything in between.”
ACE Radio Horsham general manager Brendan O’Loughlin said the virtual feature would allow businesses to engage with their clients through multiple media platforms.
“Our clients suggested we could provide an opportunity to continue that engagement by using our various media products, being the newspaper, our radio stations and also our online assets,” he said.
“This feature and promotion will provide a vehicle that will allow businesses to reach out and engage with clients and learn about all the innovations and digital opportunities that exist in the ag space.
“It’s going to be a valuable experience that will provide a centralised location for anyone interested in the ag industry to research participating businesses through the website.”
Mr O’Loughlin encouraged Wimmera people to continue embracing the atmosphere the field days would normally provide.
“There’s a real buzz and excitement during the field days week and we just want to make sure our region bounces back out of this experience and we don’t forgo that opportunity here locally,” he said.
He said ACE Radio would be encouraging businesses to run in-store events, sales and promotions as part of the promotional week.
“There will be opportunities to engage through our outside broadcasts and events that will be going on throughout town. We’re encouraging all businesses to take part in that as well,” he said.
“We know some businesses will be running their own events throughout that period. “That will give the farming community an opportunity to rub shoulders and get out and see each other.”