2018 Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth Conference wrap

This November both the 2018 Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth (RASC) and the International Attractions and Amusement Park Association conferences were held.

I have been lucky enough to be able to get to both conferences and spend time catching up with our colleagues across the world. I thought I would give you all a bit of an overview of my time at these conferences.

There is so much diversity across the regions when it comes to the shows they run. There is no doubt the UK shows are heavily grounded in agriculture, rather than entertainment. Each show is typically no more than one, two or four days long with minimal entertainment or rides. Their crowds range from 20,000 to 100,000 people depending on how many days it runs for.

We are so much more aligned with the US and Canadian Fairs, in the sense that we not only have a strong focus on agriculture, but that we also offer a lot of sideshows and rides, showbags, food and beverage offerings, and that our Show runs for many consecutive days.

It’s been great having representations from some of the big USA State Fairs at the RASC conference. It was also great to see and catch up with representatives from Sydney, Brisbane, South Australia, and New Zealand there as well.

An important part of the RASC conference was the Next Generation conference. The RASV sponsored two delegates to this, Dion Brook of Eloora Shorthorns, and our very own Grant Coverdale. They were able to immerse themselves in discussions around the success of Alberta and Canada’s agricultural industries, mutual successes and challenges in agriculture around the world, and to meet and network with people all across the globe.

It was great spending time with Grant, Dion and the rest of the Next Generation members and getting a feel for the possibilities. I’m committed to driving our Next Generation engagement at both a Victorian and Australian level.

The highlights for me from the Royal Agricultural Societies of the Commonwealth included:

  • Meeting the CEO and President from National Western Stock Show from Denver. They have a brilliant masterplan which they will implement over the next five years.
  • The Calgary Stampede team. This is a great event, well marketed and they’re just a great group of people. They have recently undertaken a strategic review.
  • Washington State Fair and a simple farm concept they have implemented called Sillyville.
  • A clever educational engagement App called “Farmers 2050”.
  • Spending time with the President of Northlands Edmonton Fairs, and hearing the issues that confront them now.
  • Spending time with our Next Gen delegates and the Next Gen members and getting a feel for the possibilities.

While in the US, I have been lucky enough to catch up with the CEO of the National Western Stock Show, The US Brewers Association’s Export Development Program Manager, among others, as well as checking out the grounds of the Indiana State Fair.

It’s been a whirlwind trip, with interesting ideas and feedback from what others are doing well, what didn’t go so well and what’s in their plans for the future.

The last two weeks have been a privilege for me to represent RASV at a variety of events, and I'm grateful for the opportunity. I've learned plenty. I’m looking forward to being able to bring what I’ve learned back to the office and our organisation.

Paul Guerra
Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria