Mystery Creek Fieldays Report
Is There a Future in Farming?
I always enjoy an annual trip to Fieldays. It brings back fond memories of my upbringing on a dairy farm. It is great to see how this event continues to grow and be so successful. It is incredibly hard to visit all 1400 exhibitors in one day, to have a really thorough look in detail at everything. I was glad to see there was some promotion of Horticulture, but it mainly related to outdoor crops.
As I was busy marching up and down the aisles in the main pavilion, disguised in my shorts and beanie, I overheard someone asking an exhibitor “is there a future in farming?” I felt my eyebrows raise and a frown come across my face. I found that question intriguing and it played on my mind all day. I could’ve dismissed the comment, but I could not help be curious to the potential reason why a person would have that impression, and would even contemplate there not being a future in farming. Is this the perception that the non-farmers, in the urban community have? Really?
Almost immediately after my ease dropping, eye brow raising moment of the day I saw a banner at a stand opposite promoting British and Irish farming. I could not have scripted this better. The main slogan on the banner was ‘The world will need 60% more food by 2050’. The next part of the banner read ‘Global food production is changing. The UK is investing in the future of agriculture by backing innovation.’ This says it all and should have in itself answered the question “is there a future in farming”.
This year it took me nearly three hours to get to Fieldays. In previous years the journey took two hours, it appears to take longer every year. The carparks were bursting at the seams and the entire Fieldays was alive with activity. There were people of all ages packed in throughout the showgrounds. The exhibits and products on display were as good, if not better than I have ever seen, testament to that was people carrying numerous bags filled with goodies on the long walk back to their cars. The atmosphere was great, I was concerned the current issue of M Bovis would have a negative effect on Fieldays, there is a lot of talk about it but it appears farmers are just ‘getting on with it’ and will solve this problem in time and get back to business.
On our return journey home north, we avoided the Huntly traffic jam by taking a detour around Taupiri towards Orini before joining State Highway 1 at Ohinewai. If you want to see some breath-taking, beautiful dairy farming land I suggest you take this route one day. After attending Fieldays, and then driving past these farms the only conclusion I came to was YES, absolutely there is a future for farming. It will evolve and possibly look different in the next twenty to thirty years but it will definitely be there. The British Banner, the growing enormity of the national Fieldays event, and the evident support of the farming community and the huge investment around that is testament to my conclusion. In my opinion, it is as positive and as interesting as ever. Well done to the Mystery Creek Fieldays organisers, again you have delivered a magnificent, truly iconic event and should be congratulated. I will be back to pay my $30 again next year.
From a horticulture point of view, it is still very obvious to me that I don’t believe we have really even scratched the surface with what we are capable of achieving. Fieldays gave me great confidence that the need for the covered crop industry to grow is imperative. It would have been nice to have had more of a horticulture flavour/presence at Mystery Creek but in essence this is an agriculture event. Possibly we should take learnings and perhaps a leaf out of the events book. Possibly we should have a horticulture Fieldays of our own?
It was great to see Sir John Key mixing with the general public, shaking hands and taking photos.
It was certainly impressive to see the carparks full for as far as the eye could see.
The Tractors were out in full force, I can’t wait to take my boys to see this when they are old enough.
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Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower