STRONG sales and record crowds were the ingredients for success at this year’s Farm World, with more than 40,000 people passing through the Lardner Park gates.
Returning to a three-day format from Friday, Lardner Park chief executive officer, Craig Debnam, said the event’s success reinforced its reputation as an agricultural field day.
With 480 exhibitors representing more than 700 brands, Mr Debnam said the site was virtually sold out.
“We’ve worked hard with exhibitors to bring their brands to the market. We are trying to reinforce the value of the local dealer and the brands they offer,” he said. “The focus is on presenting an agricultural field days, it’s not just brand promotion.”
Positive feedback from exhibitors indicated strong sales.
Mr Debnam said car dealerships and agricultural machinery dealers were reporting strong sales on social media throughout the event, saying it was rewarding to see “another sale” regularly posted by exhibitors.
He said exhibitors also had reported signed orders and leads to follow-up.
“It’s about the sales opportunities that present over the next three to six months for follow up deals,” he said.
“When the economy is in doubt with interest rates, to have a sales pipeline is so important.”
Mr Debnam said the site layout of themed zones of agricultural equipment, farm supplies, livestock, tools and general interest areas was proving popular with exhibitors and patrons.
The three-day program was introduced in 2021 to meet COVID restrictions but returned to the traditional four-day program last year.
Mr Debnam said a survey of exhibitors after last year’s event indicated strong support for the three-day format.
He said 74 per cent of survey responses requested a three-day event so “we have listened to our customers”.
“Four days at a trade show is a lot. There were still people that would prefer four days but the three days worked for most people and the crowd numbers supported that,” he said.
Saturday was the strongest day, setting a new daily crowd record of 16,000 people.
Mr Debnam said a lot of people took advantage of the combined Farm World and rodeo ticket to make it an all-in-one Saturday afternoon into evening experience.
He said introducing a night-time rodeo to the program aimed to bring farming families and rural people to Farm World during the day and offer a family-friendly event at night.
“Sunday used to be the stand-out day but that has shifted to the Saturday,” he said.
Mr Debnam said an Agriculture Victoria grant supporting free entry for children had been well received and created a really family-friendly vibe.
He said 40 bus loads of students attended Farm World on Friday, which was “really important because they are our future farmers”.