A FRESH round of state government funding is set to help the show go on for country agricultural shows across the state in 2022.
On Tuesday, the state government unveiled its $5 million Country Shows Support Package, which is open to 190 show societies across the state.
Funds can be used for upgrading facilities, ensuring venues are COVID-safe and equipment hire, among a variety of other uses.
Smaller shows with an audience of 2000 people or less will be eligible for up to $15,000 in funding, while medium and large shows can apply for up to $30,000 and $45,000 respectively.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the funding would provide a major boost to regional communities across the state, which may have missed shows in 2021.
"It's been a tough few years for country shows with drought, bushfires, storms, floods and COVID-19 disrupting plans, but as they say, the show must go on and these grants will help make that happen," Mr Toole said.
"Country shows are the heartbeat of so many rural communities - they not only celebrate the best of the best in the community but allow visitors to experience the tastes, sights and sounds of the bush.
"These grants will provide certainty to show organisers that they can lock in suppliers, hire equipment and purchase goods, which is also great news for local businesses.
"It's also a big win for competitors who have spent years perfecting events like wood-chopping, show jumping or baking, as they can now focus on earning the points needed to compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show."
Royal Agricultural Society of NSW president Michael Millner said shows played a vital role in regional communities and that the funding would help bring people together.
"Regional country shows and field days play an integral role not only to the local communities they serve but to the success of the wider agricultural industry," Mr Milner said.
"They are a place where community spirit and agricultural practice can be fostered and celebrated, and the challenges faced over the past few years has only reinforced this.
"Thanks to the NSW Government's Country Show Support Package, local shows will now have access to the support they need to bring shows to back to life in 2022."
AgShows NSW president Tim Capp said the funding would allow societies across the state to begin planning for next year's shows.
"Agricultural shows are an integral part of Australian culture and the most authentic and accessible display of Australian farming and regional life," Mr Capp said.
"To date, across the state over one hundred and thirty shows and field days have sadly been cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
"These cancellations impact the community, local economy, agriculture competition and the volunteers, who run in the hundreds and thousands."
"Shows are community driven, institutional events that in the recent past have been disrupted by drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19.
"This vital funding will help show societies hold their future events. The responsibility now lies with shows to apply."
Applications are now open and close on April 14 or until funding is exhausted.
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