Health and safety will be the focus of more than 100 rural contractors when they assemble for their annual conference in New Plymouth later this month.
The conference, Stay Alert on the Dirt, is being held in New Plymouth from June 23 to June 26.
Representatives of WorkSafe New Zealand, the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency will address the conference and answer questions around new legislation affecting the contracting industry.
The conference provided the opportunity to get the organisation's members up to speed on new health and safety legislation and changes to transport legislation in relation to agricultural vehicles, Rural Contractors New Zealand chief executive Roger Parton said.
New health and safety legislation had a significant impact on the activities of rural contractors, who needed to ensure hazards were identified when they worked on farms and to observe safe practices around agricultural chemicals.
Taranaki rural contractors Damian Orchard and Barry Taunt have helped in the preparation of the conference.
Orchard said the focus on health and safety would stress to contractors the need to have health and safety plans in place and to follow correct procedures in the event of an incident.
"It's all about protecting ourselves if something goes wrong."
The conference was also an opportunity for Taranaki rural contractors to promote the area and to network with other contractors, he said.
St John in Taranaki will be the beneficiary of the proceeds of a charity auction which is always a highlight of the conference.
Last year more than $50,000 was donated to St John in the southern South Island after the auction.
Organisers expect this year's auction may raise as much as $100,000. Under the hammer will be a tractor worth more than $70,000 donated by Case IH and other donated items will also be auctioned.
The conference will also feature addresses by outgoing New Zealand Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English, ASB rural economist Nathan Penn and Taranaki Regional Council chief executive Basil Chamberlain.
International trends in silage and inoculants will be outlined by global silage specialist Gordon Marley from the United Kingdom. Auckland Employment law specialists Paul Diver & Associates and Sydney lawyer Ian Mutton will discuss employment law and trade practices.
A field trip to Dow Agrosciences plant and research farm in New Plymouth is included in the conference programme.
Parton expects about 120 contractors to attend the conference, which is similar to the number at last year's event in Cromwell.
- Taranaki Daily News