The 2017 NZ National Agricultural Fieldays – the biggest event of its kind in the southern hemisphere – will be held from 14 to 17 June at the Mystery Creek Events Centre, near Hamilton.
The theme for this year’s field days is “leading change”.
Fieldays Society CEO Peter Nation said for the rural sector to excel and grow in the future, change is vital.
“It is an exciting and challenging time for the industry, but with good leadership we have great opportunities,” he said.
Mr Nation said New Zealand was a world leader in agriculture and primary production, and the field days have led the way as a place where businesses and individuals come for the latest in agricultural innovations and technology.
The 2017 Fieldays Innovation Awards seek to celebrate and support New Zealand’s most innovative agricultural inventions and showcase emerging products and technology that will lead change in the rural sector.
Awards are given across multiple categories, and winners will receive thousands of dollars in business support and advice to help get their innovations to market.
Innovators gain access to New Zealand’s top intellectual property and commercial lawyers, business advisors, product development and innovation consultants.
“We hope ‘leading change’ is a theme that our partners and exhibitors will embrace,” said Mr Nation. “The dairy downturn has been challenging for many, but with visionary leadership and fresh, innovative thinking we can transform the future of primary production in this country.”
Rural health will also be in the spotlight, with a new Fieldays Health Hub launching this year designed to educate and inform visitors about health issues in rural communities.
Visitors can enter the Mobile Health surgical bus and watch a mock surgery taking place.
For 10 months of the year the bus travels the country, from Kaikohe to Balclutha, performing scheduled day surgeries in small towns and rural centres.
On a competitive note, eligible farmers will vie for the Golden Gumboot in the Rural Bachelor of the Year competition. Eight finalists will tackle a series of challenges relating to farm life, from fencing and log splitting to dog handling and physical fitness.
The winner will walk away with a prize pool of more than $20,000.
Visitors will also get the chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award in the Fieldays No. 8 Wire National Art Award
Twenty-eight sculptural art works featuring No. 8 wire are finalists for the award.