Farmers in the fields

2048 1366 In Good Company | Northern Rivers

Primex Field Days

Richmond Valley Events Centre, Cassino Dr, Casino

Visit Richmond Valley Northern Rivers-01
Farmers in the fields

Bruce Wright has made his career by bringing together and supporting many of the region’s farmers and primary producers – and it helps that, in a sense, he is one of them. 

“We understand agriculture and what a family small business is about because we have been connected to both for over 50 years,” the director of PRIMEX Field Days says.

Richmond Valley Events Centre in Casino is home to the annual three-day event, a diverse exhibition of agribusiness and primary producers from Taree to Bundaberg. It is one of just a handful of privately owned field days across the nation and is one of the largest showcases of its type in coastal Australia. At November’s event, which was postponed from May because of flooding, 370 exhibitors and around 30,000 people came to view and buy the latest machinery and ag-tech and meet industry experts.

But at the heart of the event is a 37-year-long dedication to the people and connections that help the industry thrive. 

Bruce’s father, John, started his exhibition business in the early 1980s, establishing the Ballina Boat Show and, in 1985, the Eastern Australian Rural Trade Expo, which eventually became PRIMEX. Bruce joined his father in the business in 1989, taking the helm in 2014. 

“One of the key factors that has helped us through the good times and the tough times are the relationships we have built and the collaborations we are committed to,” Bruce explains. 

That means keeping talks and skill-sharing as relevant and tuned-in to specific regional needs as possible, providing solutions to the challenges facing the community.

A neat example of this are the expert panels brought together to help farmers understand CN30 and biosecurity, with practical advice given by Meat and Livestock Australia, Southern Cross University and Beef Central.

After years of drought, bushfire, the pandemic (the 2020 event went virtual) and flooding, PRIMEX 2022 was only the second exhibition in 42 months – and was as much about boosting business opportunities as it was about recognising the industry’s great morale.

Three generations of Wrights – Bruce was helped by John and his son Tyler – were at the sun-drenched event, which is run in parallel to a community engagement program, supporting charities focused on the industry.

“Farmers are too busy 24/7 doing what they do to get out and promote themselves. This is an event that is celebrating the whole production of food and fibre. They can go and be proud of an event that reflects their region and their industry,” he says.

Family and a group of close friends have been key to the field days’ success over the years, no matter the curve balls thrown their way. To that end, the 2023 event is set to go ahead in May, with well over 400 exhibitors expected – and, hopefully, a sense of moving on from a challenging few years. 

“I don’t think there’s any doubt of the impact the floods have had. This year’s event was also about putting an arm around each other,” says Bruce. “There’s a determination to be resilient. We all need to support each other and move forward, to achieve the best we can into the future – together.”

“Farmers are too busy 24/7 doing what they do to get out and promote themselves”

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