Nelson Marlborough Farming - Spirits high at Fieldays 2015
Fieldays is a highlight of the agricultural calendar every year, and I was thrilled to head up to Hamilton for the event last month. It was a fantastic day, with a diverse range of exhibitors and activities to suit everyone.
Despite recent hardships, the mood at Fieldays was overwhelmingly positive.
The past year has been tough for farmers. The low dairy payouts have been disappointing when compared with the record high prices of last year.
Drought conditions have prevailed over much of the East Coast with the lowest rainfall in North Canterbury since records began. The Cheviot area in particular has been hit very hard and while some rain has fallen drought conditions persist.
I spent the day catching up with constituents, and speaking with exhibitors.
It was great to see that spirits are still high among the farming and primary production community.
Farmers are taking a measured approach to the current situation. They are managing their finances and supplies responsibly, while still having the foresight to invest in the future.
Farmers are running lasting businesses. They are taking a long-term view, and know that commodity prices go up and down.
The event was a huge success, with over 126,000 attendees and 1001 exhibitors. Both these figures are an increase on those from last year's event. It was encouraging to see so many young people among the crowds with a keen interest in primary production.
They bring energy to the industry and contribute new ways of thinking.
I really enjoyed learning about the products and services that Kiwis have developed. The level of innovation in our primary industries is outstanding.
The agricultural sector is truly a hi-tech industry, with huge investment in research and development from industry and government bodies.
This is one of the reasons that we are a world leader in the primary sector. Not only is Fieldays popular among New Zealanders, but there are also many international delegations that visit. Our agritech exports are worth around $1.2 billion a year. Groups come from other countries to learn from New Zealand's agribusiness expertise.
I was also delighted to be there to congratulate local farmer Doug Avery on co-winning the 2015 Global Research Alliance on Global Agricultural Greenhouse Gases - World Farmer Organisation Study Tour award. This is a wonderful and well-deserved achievement for Doug, which he won for his innovative onfarm environmentally sustainable practices.
With our economy and primary sectors developing as rapidly as they are, I am excited to see what progress we'll have made by Fieldays next year. I'll see you there.