THE Wimmera Machinery Field Days wouldn't exist without the hard work of committee volunteers who make it all happen.
Committee member Bryan Matuschka has been on the committee for more than 20 years after joining in 1999.
He was president of the field days committee for two years, from 2010 to 2011.
"In 2011 we had the big flood event, so I had my photo in the paper quite a lot," he said.
"There would be members who have been on the committee a lot longer than me, probably 30-plus years; but I guess I'm starting to get into that bracket now too."
Mr Matuschka joined the committee when he was farming at Green Lake.
"I always attended the field days and when I got invited to be on the committee, I thought it would be a good opportunity to be involved," he said.
"Because it's a volunteer organisation we need as many people as we can. It's a pretty big undertaking to hold year after year. People nowadays seem to have less and less time to volunteer."
He said the committee was constantly trying to improve the event.
"The thing that stands out to me since I started is how far the event has progressed; it's become a lot more professionally run," he said.
"The committee has always had a lot of pride it what we do, but it's just the fact that we strive for constant improvement and manage to find something new each year that shows the growth.
"In the time I've been involved, the biggest change is probably the number of sheds we've built and the fact we can now offer inside sites."
The committee holds meetings throughout the year to discuss possible improvements or changes to the event.
"We have a really good spread of young and older voices on the committee; there's a lot of enthusiasm in the younger ones who have families," he said.
"It's gone from being just a strictly agriculture focused event to something that appeals to everyone."
He said field days were essential events for rural communities, such as the Wimmera.
"It's a really good place for the agriculture community to get together every year. I know there are a lot of people who maybe only catch up once a year at the field days," he said.
"Field days are still really good showcases for buyers and sellers. I know there's a lot of talk about people being able to get all that information on the internet, but there's nothing like seeing machinery in person before buying it.
"It will be really interesting to see what happens in the next 10 to 15 years. I think the struggle will always be to remain relevant, which I think we do a really good job at.
"I expect the field days will still be around in 10, 15 years, but it might look a lot different to what it does today. That's the challenge for the committee."
Longerenong farmer Robyn Gulline's land is opposite the field days site. She joined the the committee five years ago, with 2015 being her first field days.
"Before that I was involved as a committee wife, and I have been an exhibitor as well. I also worked on the sandwich kiosk for Holy Trinity Lutheran College," she said.
"I have a little shopping website (St Monan's Emporium) that doesn't get a lot of TLC nowadays. I had a stand there for it for four years, but have't one it for a while.
"Our family has a very long tradition of being involved, so it was only natural that I joined. I think I bring a different perspective to things on the committee - not better, just different.
"We all bring different perspectives. I've been involved as a mother with the school stand, as a committee wife and exhibitor, so I bring a diverse background."
Mrs Gulline said she normally worked in the general interest area of the field days.
"We all have responsibilities across the whole site as well and have our eyes open at all times. It's nice to have a look around the site because when I had my own stall I didn't have the time to look at anything," she said.
"This year I will be assisting again in that pavilion, although it will be set up very different. We're building a new stage and the auditorium will be used for presentations.
"Partners in Ag is organising an AgriFutures events for the schools. A lot of schools already come to the field days but the aim was to help them get more out of their time at the site (through the new Ag Ed Quest and presentations).
"When I was teaching at Longerenong College, I would bring my students over and use the field days as an education resource."
As chair of the field days' 2040 sub-committee, Mrs Gulline said constant improvement and change was essential for the event's longevity.
"All of us have different opinions on what we want out of the field days. We can't keep it the same every year; as comforting as that may be, it's not always a good thing," she said.
"The best committee members are those who aren't afraid of change and have lots of good ideas. We also want to help develop the site not just for the field days but as an event centre."
"To get any money from the government for improvements, we need to be multi-purpose, and find new opportunities to explore and appeal to the broader community."
She wanted to encourage other people to join.
"I really enjoy the camaraderie. I'm only one of two women (along with Wendy Byrne) on the committee, but it doesn't matter," she said.
"The guys are fabulous and I'm seen as their equal. I'm a farmer, just like them, and they like that I come with different ideas and different experiences."
She said the social aspect was one of the most important elements of the field days.
"I think there will be a nice positive vibe and air of optimism this year because there has been a reasonable harvest in many areas," she said.
"As a committee we are doing all we can to attract patrons to the site, but it also comes down to the exhibitors also to make their sites as interactive as possible and change it up every year.
"So that's another thing we're looking at: how to help our exhibitors make their sites as appealing as possible."
Mrs Gulline said she was yet to convince her children William, Isabella and Hannah to join the committee.
"They aren't really around, but they have helped out in the past. Hannah hasn't been able to come for about 10 years, but she'll be able to come this year which is very exciting," she said.
She hoped the Wimmera would come out to the field days and support the various community groups that used the event as a fundraising opportunity.
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