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EDITORIAL: Important connections

The agricultural community is welcoming the return of several important events on the annual calendar. 

This week’s bumper edition of The Weekly Advertiser celebrates the Mallee Machinery Field Days, which makes its much-anticipated return next week. 

After a long absence due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of visitors are preparing to travel north for the field days, staged in a paddock between Speed and Turriff and in its iconic circular formation. 

The event, on August 3 and 4, will raise significant funds for local community groups. 

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It’s the first field days event, between both the Mallee and Longerenong’s Wimmera Machinery Field Days, since the eve of the pandemic in March 2020. 

The Mallee field days will come just days after Sheepvention in Hamilton, which begins on Sunday – an important annual event for those in the western districts and beyond to discuss innovations and trade, meet producers and growers and compete in the coveted annual sheep showing competitions. 

In turn, the events come a fortnight after Wimmera and Mallee sheep studs and shearers returned home triumphant from the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo. 

The accolades gained from such outings for businesses and individuals can attract significant financial and social benefits. 

The social and economic value of such events, generally, are well documented and widely discussed. 

After two years of lockdowns and restrictions amid the pandemic, the re-emergence of such events seems extra important and special. 

Our farming community is well-versed in working independently and somewhat isolated from others regularly – such is the nature of living and working on the land. 

But the pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of social connection; of sharing experiences and stories and a laugh. Of building and maintaining relationships and rapport. 

A report was released last week into Victoria’s pandemic management inquiry – and it delivered a scathing analysis of the impacts that lockdowns had on mental health. 

The report said restrictions and isolation contributed to a significant increase in demand for and awareness of mental health and wellbeing services. Mental health service beyondblue says demand had reached record levels during the pandemic and remains higher today than before March 2020. 

While the pandemic is far from over, social opportunities such as the Mallee Machinery Field Days offer people a chance to reconnect, reintegrate, re-energise and ultimately, experience ‘normality’ and the joys of rural and regional life.

That’s good for everyone. 

The entire July 27, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire July 27, 2022 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!