There is still a future in agricultural shows if farmers are willing to keep showing their animals at country events, says Senator Bridget McKenzie.
The deputy Nationals leader visited Wangaratta Showgrounds on Monday, as volunteers were busily setting up for the event this weekend.
She said shows were all about people showing off their giant pumpkins, quality jelly slices, top riding skills or beautiful cattle and poultry.
Attendance and participation in country shows has been declining, but Senator McKenzie said she hoped that would not continue.
"When you've got a local show, there's a spring in everyone's step ... I think there's a bit of a renaissance going on," she said.
"Often it's the livestock that is first to go - farmers don't see the value in bringing their cattle or their sheep or those larger beasts into the show.
"I'd encourage them to still do that, we've got a responsibility to engage with the broader community."
The Wangaratta Show Society has reported record entries in some cooking and arts categories.
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The federal government last week announced $20 million for agricultural shows, which can apply for up to $500,000 to upgrade or build new show infrastructure or attractions.
Many of the buildings and furniture items Senator McKenzie saw in Wangaratta were very aged and needed to be upgraded.
She also suggested things to bring the show into the 21st century such as a portable ATM or, like happens at other big shows, a virtual experience into farming, which she said "could help bridge the divide".
"There's a vast group of Australians, particularly young people, who don't understand where their food and fibre comes from and don't appreciate that our farmers are among the most sustainable producers in the world," she said.
Asked if she supported comments from Peter Dutton that welfare payments should be cut from people who protest the federal government, Senator McKenzie said it was important to engage in debate, but not if it takes away from job-seeking efforts.
"If you are on Newstart, you should be looking for a job," she said.
"It doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned about climate change, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned about a raft of other issues."
Senator McKenzie was also at Robertson's Pharmacy in Wangaratta on Monday to discuss the addition of more drugs to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, including those used to treat diseases such as lung cancer.
Drugs that used their cost more than $100,000 will soon be just over $40 or $6.30 with a concession card.
"Having to find $122,000, as is the case with some of the course of these treatments, is way out of reach for the average Australian family," Senator McKenzie said.
Pharmacist Alistair Robertson said it was fantastic to see the list of drugs on the PBS growing, as patients are in need of new and more effective medications everyday.
"When you tell patients how much they cost, they're pretty surprised that's the full price," he said.