With another National Fieldays done and dusted for the year it is an opportune time to reflect on the current state of New Zealand’s primary sector.
About 95% of sites at Mystery Creek were pre-sold by November last year; there is a waiting list of businesses keen to exhibit at the 2016 Fieldays.
Nation says the Fieldays has longstanding exhibitors, most turning up every year since its inception 48 years ago.
"They take the long term view; we all see downturns," he told Dairy News.
"They come here to to realign themselves with existing customers, and they come to show off their brands and show all their new innovation and products.
"We have 300-400 media people attending, so the exhibitors get great exposure.
"Our exhibitors also come to entertain their guests, inviting them to their marquees to entertain them and thank them for their business.
"There is a whole lot of stuff going on here that is not visible; it's not just people standing a stand and doing a brand."
To meet the growing demand from exhibitors, the National Fieldays Society spent $8 million last year, filling a lake and creating 174 new sites.
Nation says the Fieldays remains a melting pot for urban and rural dwellers -- the objective of its founders.
"We are focussed on keeping it real to its roots. When six people founded this organisation 48 years ago the founding objective was to bring town and country together and advance agriculture. We are careful to maintain focus on that."
Nation took over as chief executive this year, after 11 years as a board member. One of his first official tasks was to launch the Fieldays at a breakfast in April.
"For the last 47 years we have reached June and opened the gates after sending out a few media releases. This year we decided on a launch, to get people talking about it."
About 100 Waikato agribusiness leaders attended a breakfast with Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
The four-day event opens on June 15.
Nation expects 120,000-140,000 visitors through the gates, including about 3000 overseas visitors.
Mystery Creek will be transformed into "a little city" for four days, he says.
About 10,000 staff will work at exhibition sites and the venue.
Tale of the tape
• 1100 exhibition sites, 95% sold by November last year
• The four-day event pumps $370 million into the national economy and $140m into Waikato
• 3000 international visitors
• 120,000-140,000 visitors expected
• 10,000 exhibitor staff
• 300 media registrations expected
• During the event Mystery Creek's daily power usage is the same as Te Awamutu's
• Mystery Creek also hosts Equidays, conferences, weddings and scout jamborees.