Fieldays enrich new alliances

19:55, Jun 16 2014
National Fieldays
Kris Fannin of Cambridge fixes up a tent on the Contractors Federation site blown down by strong winds over night at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Fieldays
The sun shines on the early starters on the first day of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Fieldays
After a stormy night, the sun shines over the first day 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Fieldays
The weather was bleak on the eve of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Fieldays
Josie Yockney wears her trusty gumboots to get through wet conditions on the eve of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Fieldays
Leaning into the wind from a bank above the National Agricultural Fieldays site are, from right, Matamata lads Taylor Green, 19, Zach Bell, 18 and Daniel Phillips, 20.
Rural bachelors
Pretty boys: Rural bachelors contestants, from left, Michael Paton, Jimmy Bentham, Josh Gilbert, Brett Steeghs and Thomas Denham during a question and answer session.
National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Boys with free stuff: Rhys Kimber, Matt Hanson and Sam Smith, all 15 and from Kristin School in Auckland, enjoy the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Thumbs up: Zac Gillespie of Inglewood gets his pic taken by Ebony de Thierry in front of a Westpac Rescue Helicopter at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
Prime Minister John Key tries out a Honda quad bike at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
Korey Knudsen, 18 months old, tries out an interesting display at the Stoney Creek site at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
National Agricultural Fieldays 2014
Holly Duggan gets a pic to remember with Prime Minister John Key at the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

I spent a few days at the mecca of New Zealand's primary industries last week - Mystery Creek Fieldays. This is the time of year to showcase what we do.

Fieldays is as much a celebration of our world leading agri sector as it is an opportunity to showcase that to not just New Zealand but the rest of the world. With 300 international visitors registered from 37 different countries including international exhibitors it was a prime opportunity to rub shoulders with industry practitioners and leaders - and I was proud to see Federated Farmers smack bang in the middle of the agri mecca.

There was a raft of innovation, technology and opportunity available, which highlighted to me how advanced we are with existing solutions to farm smarter in New Zealand.

2014 National Fieldays
Tyler Wetere, 8, complete with goodies bag around this neck, negotiates a walkway at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Little Angus Leigh-Mackenzie appears well-equipped to help with chainsawing displays at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Mark Birks, 5, gets some digger driving advice from Alistair McIntyre at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Pumps were needed after heavy overnight at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Sophie Robinson and Jared Suisted at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Gumboots and umbrellas were necessary fashion accessories on day two of the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Mark Lambert carries a post hole borer in the fencing competition at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Shane, Aimee, Tommy and Michelle Lawson from Okaihau Bay of Islands are dressed for the inclement weather at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Sam, Nathan, Amanda and Maxwell Flowerday of Tauranga at dressed for the conditions at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
2014 National Fieldays
Nick Lieftieng and Tim Stafford compete in the early stages of the national fencing championships at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. Hamilton.
2014 National Fieldays
Tim Stafford and Nick Lieftieng compete in the early stages of the national fencing championships at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. Hamilton.

It is why Fieldays attracted such a large number of international visitors. We are looked to as industry leaders, and the opportunities to help other nations increase, and improve, their productivity is ours for the taking.

There were 900 New Zealand companies exhibiting, so it was a huge opportunity for farming support businesses to promote and sell their products and advances in technology to farmers. Equally so, farmers were able to learn about the most up-to-date technology to make their farming lives easier, safer, more compliant, and cost efficient. I myself bought a new generator for my dairy shed.

For the next power cut, I won't be losing out on production or relying on my neighbour's generator. I was also able to look at the latest in effluent irrigators, and was blown away by the innovation to support farmer's environmental practices.

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2014 National Fieldays
Rural bachelor contestants compete in the high tea competition at the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Rural bachelor contestants compete in the high tea competition at the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Rural bachelor contestants compete in the high tea competition at the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Anywhere will do as a youngster takes a nap at the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Better weather has brought in more people to the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Karl Bowman, Peter Hardie and Warrick Lilly hard at work in the chainsaw carving competition at 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Spectators check out the chainsaw carving competition at 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Peter Hardie working on his wood scultpture at the chainsaw carving competition at 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Callipari Wines winemaker, Micheal Callipari offers Colin Merritt a taste sample at the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Some work of Morrinsville man Tony Gray, a finalist in No.8 Wire Art Awards at the 2014 National Fieldays.
2014 National Fieldays
Morrinsville man Tony Gray, a finalist in No.8 Wire Art Awards at the 2014 National Fieldays with some of his work.
2014 National Fieldays
Rural bachelor contestants compete in the high tea competition at the 2014 National Fieldays.

Industry networking is important in the advocacy work the federation does, and there is no better place than Fieldays to do some networking. I met some familiar and not so familiar faces, and spoke to some regional councillors, who have consequently asked me to speak at a couple of their policy meetings. These opportunities to present the farming communities point of view don't fall into your lap every day, so the days spent at Mystery Creek were certainly valuable.

Fieldays are also important for Federated Farmers in terms of promoting the work they do to achieve workable outcomes for our members. We signed 12 new members and around 40 contracts and agreements, which all goes toward us being able to make farming less of a headache for you.

We had a good meeting with DairyNZ's key policy staff on employment law and the way forward with the changes to the minimum wage. Willy Leferink and I caught up with our sponsors from Ravensdown and had an interesting chat about their new technology in precision fertiliser applications.

 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Brontie Birchall-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Sandra Guest-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Mercia Paaymans-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
An outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
 Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
A Sandra East-designed outfit on the runway for the Ag Art Wear Show at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.
Ag Art Wear entry is paraded at the 2014 National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

As most topics do, it slipped into an environmental one, with Ravensdown noticing a drop off in fertiliser sales due to nutrient concerns. Amazing how changes to farming regulation drip feed into the community.

Our policy advisor and I also had a fascinating chat with Waikato Regional Council's chief executive, where we discussed the Waikato Waipa Stakeholders Group and where we think it should head. It is always nice to be able to have a candid chat with stakeholders, away from the roundtable and for an industry that lives in isolation, it is no surprise that days like these draw everyone out of the woodwork; even the Prime Minister paid us a visit!

It's not easy to get farmers off the farm. However, with the mecca of the primary industries on for only four days of the year, you would be hard pressed to stop them, with or without rain!

* Chris Lewis is Federated Farmers Waikato provincial president.

Waikato Times