It started with just 63 exhibitors in 1973 and 50 years on AgQuip now has more than 3,000 exhibitors from agricultural innovation to backyard gardening and everything in between.
The nation’s largest premier primary industry event continues to be a leader in offering regional Australia the latest agricultural advancements and innovations for the land, with 2023 being no different.
Exhibitors achieved sales over $10 million across the three days with ACM Rural Events Manager Kate Nugent stating the success of the 2023 event is a symbol of what is in store for AON AgQuip for the next 50 years.
“The event has been a tremendous success, not only for rural producers and businesspeople, but for the wider regional community who come to meet with friends and family, and enjoy all that AgQuip has to offer,” she said.
(L-R) Barry Harley, ACM Rural Events Manager Kate Nugent, Tony Kendall, Max Ellis, Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey, current 2TM General Manager Nikki Kenwrick, and AON's Tim Trandafilu.
AgQuip started from humble beginnings.
2TM’s then General Manager Max Ellis, a 37-year-old with no experience or credentials to organise an event as big as AgQuip, decided that country folk needed a commercial one stop shop in their own backyard.
Luckily for Max, people took a chance on him.
“Country people weren’t looked after in the same ways that governments try to look after them these days. There was a feeling that everything had to be in the capital cities to be worthwhile,” he shared.
“Farmers had to trek to the Sydney Royal Easter Show each year just to see the latest exhibitions of farm machinery, so we turned around and brought that equipment to the people.”
From day one, the event was to be commercial, so it had the means to grow year on year.
And although it has grown dramatically, the basic concept remains the same.
“The agricultural industry has innovated and changed dramatically, but the basic form of AgQuip hasn’t changed very much at all,” said Max.
“The original philosophy was to have a free show because I didn’t believe people wanted to pay to enter a supermarket – that’s essentially what we created, a vast agricultural supermarket – but while conditions have changed and things have changed, the supermarket concept remains the same.”
Exhibitors such as Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, John Deere, and Case IH have been attending the AgQuip since the year it began, still finding ways today to diversify their attendance.
“At Yamaha we predominantly showcase our side-by-side buggies and ATVs, but this year we added a large range of motorcycles, including our 50th anniversary YZ range which so happens to coincide with the AgQuip 50th anniversary,” said Shane Rawling, Yamaha Dealer Relationship Manager of NSW.
Exhibitors are not always agriculture though, event goers can find electric dirt bikes, beds specific for caravans and boats, tiny homes, and even 20 different flavours of macadamia nuts from Planet Macadamia.
Ms Nugent said it takes a village of people working tirelessly behind the scenes for this event to come to life, and they are lucky to have had a dedicated and hard-working team organise and execute this event to the highest standard.
This year’s event also had over 200 exhibitors head to this year’s AgQuip for the first time, many of whom are Ag-tech start-ups, which Ms Nugent says is an ode to AgQuip’s ability to stay ahead of the curve for 50 years.
A thankyou is extended to Max Ellis and the rest of the 1973 team for bringing farming innovation to the people, not only creating AgQuip but the many other field days that now exist all around Australia.