Member for Parkes Mark Coulton with exhibitors and prize-winning Charolais bulls at Warialda Show this year.
Member for Parkes Mark Coulton with exhibitors and prize-winning Charolais bulls at Warialda Show this year.

Local agricultural shows are being urged to apply for funding under the $20 million Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants (AgShows) Program.

Federal Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the grants program will reinvigorate showgrounds and help boost communities in his electorate, at a time when the drought continues to bite.

“This is an excellent opportunity for regional ag shows in the Parkes electorate to revitalise their infrastructure and assets,” Mr Coulton said.

“Having formerly been President of my local show society at Warialda, I know how much time and effort goes into ensuring these shows go off without a hitch, but show societies need our support and they need proper infrastructure.

“Ag shows help our city counterparts learn about our ag industries, and where their food and fibre comes from. It’s vital we get behind our show movement to keep shows going year after year.

“I urge local councils and showground owners to support show societies in their applications for funding – this money will benefit entire communities.”

Mr Coulton said local show societies and state and territory agricultural show peak bodies could be eligible to receive grants of up to $500,000 to upgrade, maintain, buy or build new showground infrastructure and attractions.

“This funding is in addition to the $720,000 the Nationals in Government are providing to Agricultural Shows Australia to use the agricultural show network to promote the value and role of farmers,” Mr Coulton said.

Minister for Agriculture Senator Bridget McKenzie said agricultural shows were part of our national identity.

“They showcase the pinnacle and pride of local produce that often spans generations of tradition and know-how,” Senator McKenzie said.

“Most of the 580 agricultural shows held annually in Australia are regionally based and they bring communities closer together especially in times of drought and other hardships.”

Grants could be used for repairs or upgrades of existing showground facilities such as outdoor seating, new infrastructure such as a grandstand or assets like portable sheep holding yards.