Taranaki Federated Farmers is celebrating its 50th anniversary in style at the end of this month.
An anniversary conference with the theme, 50 Years of Growing Taranaki's Farming Future, is being held at Hawera's TSB Hub on May 30.
The organisation has pulled no punches in efforts to attract high-profile politicians to address the conference because it wants to mark the occasion with the attendance of national leaders, says president Bronwyn Muir.
Guest speakers include Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, Green MP Gareth Hughes, Trade Minister Tim Groser and New Zealand Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills.
Also on the programme are South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop, Affco New Zealand regional livestock manager Howard Symonds, TSB Bank senior agribusiness manager Craig Robinson and Muir herself.
Muir said the anniversary provided an opportunity to recognise the many thousands of volunteer hours passionate members of the organisation had poured into the province over at least the last 50 years to ensure the growth of farming. It also provided an occasion for farmers to build their networks, to celebrate the contribution farming made to Taranaki and to review their history as they considered the future of farming in the region.
As a region leading the country's economic growth, Taranaki was already on the radar of Bridges and Hughes who as relatively young politicians were leading the charge in Future New Zealand discussions and decisions.
She said their presence would help Taranaki farmers make informed decisions leading up to this year's election. It was also an opportunity for farmers to meet the two politicians and to ask them their views on how Taranaki should capitalise on its growth and maintain sustainable regional production.
Groser was a down-to-earth, personable politician who was extremely experienced in international agricultural trade negotiations. His depth of international knowledge and his ministerial negotiating roles made him the perfect speaker for the conference, she said.
Taranaki Federated Farmers wants a strong turnout at the conference where a number of former presidents and early members of the organisation will share their memories of the organisation's history with today's members.
Muir said she hoped many young farmers and sharemilkers would also attend because they represented the future of farming.
Taranaki businesses, many of which were built on the back of the farming industry and whose owners shared farmers' passion for the future of farming, are also expected to be strongly represented at the conference.
The conference will conclude with an after-dinner performance by Hawera Repertory Society and a couch session in which former presidents will discuss the history of Taranaki Federated Farmers.
It will be hosted by DairyNZ consulting officer James Lawn, now of Dunedin but formerly of Taranaki, a young man who represented the future of the organisation, she said.
- Taranaki Daily News