Tuesday, 28 November 2023 12:55

Expo attracts strong exhibitor interest

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Organisers says the decision to transition from the Effluent Expo to the NZ Dairy Expo was driven by the changing landscape in the dairy industry. Organisers says the decision to transition from the Effluent Expo to the NZ Dairy Expo was driven by the changing landscape in the dairy industry.

Nearly half of the available sites in the inaugural New Zealand Dairy Expo have been taken, says organiser Amanda Hodgson.

She told Dairy News that they've had an incredible response since event details were released to potential exhibitors earlier this month.

"Nearly half of the available sites have already been spoken for with room for expansion. Many exhibitors who have been with us for the Effluent Expo over the years are back, showing the tremendous value they find in this evolving event," says Hodgson.

"We are looking for a broader scope of exhibitors other than those directly related to effluent, so if you're keen to get in front of some proactive dairy farmers then this is the place you need to be. We often host exhibitors who haven't participated in larger field days, giving the event a distinctive atmosphere."

The NZ Dairy Expo will be held at Bedford Park, Matamata over two days - February 20-21 next year. The event has previously been held as the NZ Effluent & Environment Expo.

Hodgson says the decision to transition from the Effluent Expo to the NZ Dairy Expo was driven by the changing landscape in the dairy industry.

"Farmers are adopting complete system changes, incorporating new infrastructure like feed pads and herd barns to address challenges posed by varying weather conditions.

"This evolution opens opportunities to showcase not only effluent solutions and infrastructure upgrades but also the latest in technology, machinery, and innovations supporting these system changes."

The event is dedicated to dairy farmers only and organisers are promising them "a grassroots experience".

Hodgson says the Expo is where on-farm challenges find practical solutions.

"Whether you're grappling with effluent management, seeking improved cow drafting methods, interested in new technology to help simplify your system, need irrigation, or facing challenges with feeding out, the Expo brings together a diverse range of exhibitors, all deeply embedded in the dairy sector.

"Every exhibitor shares a common goal - to assist dairy farmers like you in finding the right solutions for your on-farm needs. It's a collaborative environment where expertise, innovation, and practical insights come together.

"We believe that by connecting farmers with industry experts in the one location over a couple of days, between milkings, farmers can chew the fat, and we hope we can connect farmers to industry experts where together they can find solutions to some on farm problems to enhance their farm operations.

"Also having it at Bedford Park where we have ability to grow the event over 2ha, supports the local United Matamata Sports rugby club, which is what we love about it. Keeping it simple, grassroots and having a sausage; that's going back to junior rugby, back to the community."

Like previous effluent expos, there is no entry fee for this event. Organisers want to make sure everyone has access to the valuable information and opportunities available at the Expo.

"Bringing the Expo to Matamata also helps to keep costs down for exhibitors. We know the expense it takes to have a couple of days out of the business, the travel and accommodation, the staff and also the kids at home that need to be managed," says Hodgson.

She points out that the event is run by "a couple of individuals passionate about the dairy industry".

"The proactive interaction we've missed throughout Covid has fuelled out commitmnt to running this event. Our goal isn't to make a profit, but it does make ends meet; it's to bring the industry together, provide a platform for continuous education, and contribute to uplifting the New Zealand dairy sector.

"It just so happens that I like organising things and we have some awesome farmers supporting us on the way through - they also love this simple rural roots approach."

The NZ Dairy Expo will run without sponsorship. According to Hodgson, changes in roles, role disestablishment, and evolving policies have made sponsorship coordination challenging.

"With the effluent space no longer receiving the same support, and the NZ Freshwater Policy taking precedence, it's become a complex landscape to navigate. Our focus remains on providing valuable information and opportunities, ensuring everyone can benefit from this collective knowledge-sharing experience."

More Visitors Expected

Organisers hope that holding the NZ Dairy Expo in Matamata will attract more visitors.

Over the years, organisers welcomed between 600 and 1,000 farmers through the doors each day at Mystery Creek Event Centre.

Amanda Hodgson says with the move to Matamata, they're optimistic about gaining even more support for the event.

"While our goal isn't solely focused on quantity of people through the gates for exhibitors, we value the proactive nature and concentrated audience of the farmers who attend. The farmers are there for a reason, and that's what we want."

She points out that NZ Dairy Expo intentionally takes a different approach from the grand scale of the Mystery Creek Fieldays.

"It's not about size, it's about purpose. It's a comprehensive and focused platform, purpose-built for dairy farmers to discover and learn everything they need to stay abreast of daily challenges on the farm and master the best approaches to handle them.

"Our Expo stands as a true one-stop-shop, offering a wealth of resources and solutions. In the past, we've had groups attend from the South Island, Victoria in Australia, and even Tasmania, generating significant interest. We're excited about building on this momentum and would obviously welcome any proactive NZ dairy farmer."

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