The 2023 East Coast Farming Expo, scheduled for next week in Wairoa, has been cancelled.
"Post cyclone, farmers are really wanting to get together and just reconnect," says event organiser Sue Wilson. "We've got quite the line-up of speakers come over the two days."
Included in the line-up is television personality and mental wellbeing exponent Matt Chisholm alongside Craigs financial chick Fleur Gardiner, Lincoln University adjunct professor Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, Julia Jones and John Roche, the chief science advisor at Ministry for Primary Industries.
All are excited to be back in the rural sector sharing their knowledge, and reconnecting with people.
Rowarth is very much focused on the vibrant future ahead.
"Reading, listening or watching any of the news you would be forgiven for thinking the world population is becoming vegan, embracing plant-based food from vertical farms and cultured protein from vats while relegating animals to the role of pets," she says.
"In fact, the world needs sustainably produced animal protein more than ever and New Zealand is leading the way in showing how what is needed can be achieved. The key is to consider the essential amino acids that make meat and milk such efficient deliverers of what human psychology requires."
Former head of analytics for the NZX Julia Jones says she'll be drilling down on what is happening around the world, including protectionism, geopolitical issues, climate resilience.
"As an export-led economy our revenues are dependent on what is happening globally," Jones explains. "It is important we understand and have perspective on what is happening."
For Gardiner the Expo is a chance to encourage people to plan and consider their options and investment dos and don’ts, and she’ll have case studies to show how investing off farm can provide an alternate income stream and help with succession planning.
All agree events like the Expo are crucial to wider community wellbeing.
“These give a moment of positive shared experience and support, and the opportunity to gain new information and see new technologies,” Rowarth adds. “That combination can lead to new thinking and opportunities. For speakers it is a chance to see and hear what has been endured and achieved by the local community and take that to other parts of the country.”
Jones says such connection is like oxygen.
“We need it, but we don’t always appreciate that. It’s the laughs, smiles and hugs that fill people’s cups.”
Wilson says the Expo always pushes to raise the bar and meet what they know the farming community wants to see and hear.
“We are all really excited to be bringing the 2024 Expo to our region once again.”