Manawatu dairy farmers Wendy and Richard Ridd consider the environment extensively when making decisions on their farm that runs to 260 hectares, with a milking platform of 196 cows.
National Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation says logistics could be an issue for some visitors this year.
“While Covid gave us a kick in the guts last year, it’s still causing issues on the logistics front,” he told Rural News.
“Only 50% of the usual bed spaces are available in Hamilton, with three hotels given over to MIQ facilities, alongside the other issue of emergency housing said to be accommodating over 700 families. My advice is getting your plans in place early,” says Nation.
During the four-day event at Mystery Creek, Covid compliance will be big: extensive log-in facilities and copious sanitiser stations will be in place.
Despite the Covid cloud, Fieldays will be bigger and better than ever, says Nation.
The social side also gets a big refresh, with the central bar and eatery area doubling in size and extended hours up until 8.00pm.
“Feedback is telling us that Fieldays 2021 will be bigger and better than ever, with farmers and exhibitors telling us that they are itching to reconnect in both a social and business sense. Indeed, with the rural sector travelling well and a good-looking milksolid pay-out, it bears well for some good business to be done,” says Nation.
Scheduled for 16th to 19th June, National Fieldays will be based around its key pillars of Innovation, Education and Globalisation. While the latter will need to be taken care of by the parallel-running Fieldays Online presence, a smattering of countries such as Ireland, the UK and Korea will have a physical presence. The Society notes that while there are still a few exhibitors booking sites at this late stage, it looks like it will be a sell-out by the time of the event.
On the education front, Taryn Storey, Fieldays marketing and communications manager, says there will be improvements in many areas including the Health and Wellbeing Exhibit that saw over 26,000 visitors in 2019. “The exhibit certainly proved its worth in 2019, where staff picked up eleven malignant melanomas, one case of Type 1 diabetes and numerous issues that warranted a trip to see a GP. It was also encouraging to see a number of wives and partners dragging their staunch other halves into the exhibit for a subtle WOF.”
Likewise, the Careers and Education Hub will be expanded with several new exhibitors and agencies to offer information on a wide range of opportunities in the rural sector and the best course to follow to exploit these.</p.
The popular Innovations Arena has also seen a refocus, to clearly represent the innovation lifecycle, resulting in three award categories: Prototype, Early Stage, and Growth & Scale. This range of categories is said to allow individuals and companies, big or small, to get the support, recognition, and mentoring they require to take their innovation to the next level.
Fieldays Innovations event manager Gail Hendricks says, “changing conditions globally makes innovation a top priority for businesses far and wide, especially for primary industries, in terms of providing sustainable and productive solutions that drive economic progress.”
Up for grabs are two $10,000 cash prizes on offer.