Hauraki dairy farmer Connall Buchannan is urging farmers to get more active in their local communities.
That's the message from Heidi Williams, chair of the SIDE Event Committee. She wants dairy farmers to put aside June 20 to 22, the dates set for SIDE this year.
SIDE is New Zealand's premier dairy conference, and the largest event of its type in the country.
Organised by farmers, for farmers, the annual programme is designed to promote thinking and debate, as well help like-minded farmers to network and find inspiration and motivation.
Williams says now, more than ever, is a good time for farmers and farm workers to come along, reconnect and meet people and benefit from the social interaction.
"We're all in the current downturn together; there's enormous value in getting off the farm and simply talking to peers, hearing their stories, and sharing ideas."
SIDE organisers say they pride themselves on gauging feedback from previous events, and putting together a programme that is innovative, challenging and relevant to the issues of the day.
Williams says the presenters will be keeping it real.
"We've done well in attracting outstanding keynote speakers and workshop presenters this year to draw inspiration from, and we know the interactive style of the workshops will encourage plenty of discussion."
The "Bounce Forward" theme for this conference acknowledges the environment dairy farmers are enduring - personally, financially, climatically and environmentally.
"Bounce Forward is learning new ideas while also remembering the systems that have worked well in the past. It is also encouraging confidence in ourselves and what we do, and confidence that we are involved in a great industry."
Registrations for SIDE 2016 have opened; information can be found at http://side.org.nz