Fieldays is going virtual this year — will it be a flop? Mark Daniel looks into the controversial event.
Into its 44th year, attendance to New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays was 2.3% up on 2011, experiencing the second busiest Wednesday on record.
Fieldays has long been a staple in the farming calendar with visitors keen to check out the industry's latest technologies and methods. This year was no different, with exhibition sites bustling with farmers keen to get the first look at what's new and improved in the sector.
This year's Premier Feature 'The Changing Face of Farming', set the tone for a range of exhibits based on addressing the changing land ownership model in New Zealand; succession planning, sustainability, governance, the role of women in farming and career pathways.
The Premier Feature area has transformed this year to include a Seminar Room in the Pavilion. Powered by the University of Waikato, it features a robust schedule of informative agricultural based sessions throughout the event.
Dairy NZ has bought a special visitor to help "man" their stand in the Premier Feature area of the main pavilion. Rosie is the New Zealand dairy industry Cowbassador who is helping them with an extensive education programme targeting primary school age children. Fieldays visitors can bring children to engage with Rosie, go in the draw to win an iPad then go home and play on the website www.rosiesworld.co.nz where they can view farms via Cow Cams.
Claire Watts, Dairy NZ brand marketing manager, said Rosie was working in conjunction with Go Dairy Education who provides educational support and resources for teachers when they're using the New Zealand dairy industry as a learning context. The dairy industry is one of the largest in New Zealand and also provides many career opportunities that can appeal to young people, especially those who may not be engaged by more traditional jobs in office environments.
Also exhibiting in the Premier Feature is AgITO; one of New Zealand's largest industry training organisations. Claire Spiers, AgITOBrand manager, said they have now tailored modules to suite the working life of the whole farm team. Qualifications and short courses cover all the agriculture skills and knowledge needed from effluent planning to rural staff management and more. The Agribusiness Management Diploma now offers flexible study options allowing workers to upskill in certain modules and gain skills to ensure future profitability.
New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays is on now until Saturday, June 16 2012 at Mystery Creek Events Centre, 10 minutes south of Hamilton. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate, visit http://fieldays.co.nz for more details. Fieldays is supported by strategic partners - ANZ and the University of Waikato.