The Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) is planning to host a large-scale farmer event during the second half of 2021.

“We will make a final decision at the end of March,” confirmed FTMTA chief executive Gary Ryan.

Continuing, Ryan said:

If it goes ahead, the event will take place in the open air and will have a three-day format.

“There is a huge appetite amongst the general public for a traditional machinery event. And FTMTA members feel likewise.

“Our planning for 2021 is wholly dependent on the Covid-19 situation. If the vaccination programme is seen to be working, then it will be so much easier for us to plan head.

“We have also to work through the format option for an event in 2021. Will it be focussed on static machinery or will it be run along lines similar to those followed for the FTMTA Grass and Muck events?

These are decisions that we have to make over the coming weeks.

Ryan noted the commitment made by a number of organisations to host virtual machinery events over recent months, adding:

“But farmers still want to see the items of machinery they are interested in close up. They need that touch-feel experience.

“For their part, machinery manufacturers and dealers value that all important, one-to-one contact with potential buyers.

“It’s all about making the deal, which they can’t do courtesy of a virtual event.”

Reflecting on a very topsy-turvy year for FTMTA, Ryan said that it was with great regret that the decision to cancel Grass and Muck 2020 had been taken.

“Initially, I was pretty convinced that we would have had the opportunity to push ahead with an event in August, following the decision to postpone in May.”

He continued:

“But the government’s decision, effectively banning public gatherings of 5,000 and more people until at least September, superseded that postponement.

Assuming that we have the opportunity of pushing ahead with our own plans in the second half of 2020, it will then be two years since a large-scale machinery has been held in Ireland.

Ryan concluded:

“Thankfully, Irish machinery dealers were officially recognised as essential and have been allowed to trade uninterrupted throughout 2021.

“Our members fully recognise that businesses in other sectors were not provided with this opportunity.

“Our hope and expectation is that the country will return to some form of normality during 2012, holding out the hope that it will be business as usual for manufacturers, dealers and farmers.”