The Central District Field Days are back, bigger and as exciting as ever. The three-day event celebrates 21 years of bringing new and innovative products to the farming sector.
Hosted by Fairfax Media, the field days are an important part of farming business. Each week, farmers connect with agribusinesses nationwide through the country's largest circulation national farming newspaper Straight Furrow, which is supplemented by monthly editions of The Dairyman and AgTrader.
CDFD is another tool connecting farmers with the latest innovations to assist in the successful running of their businesses.
Visitor and exhibitor numbers have increased steadily over the years and in 2013, more than 38,000 people attended the three-day event. It is now the largest regional field days in New Zealand.
"To have more than 38,000 people coming through the gates is an impressive accomplishment," says Fairfax's head of rural content Tim Cronshaw.
"The Central Districts Field Days has become an important event on the farming calendar. It is somewhere farmers and industry-related people come to catch up with their mates and family to talk about the farming world and what lies ahead."
Cronshaw said it was not just farmers and visitors who made the event a success. Of the original exhibitors, 63 have been attending since 1993.
"This is a huge achievement and we really applaud the exhibitors for their support. They wouldn't still be attending after all this time if it wasn't worthwhile and the Central Districts Field Days wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't for them.
"Having 63 of the original exhibitors still on board shows their commitment to the event and is a validation of how great the Central Districts Field Days has become," Mr Cronshaw said.
Cronshaw visited CDFD last year and said he was taken aback by not only the variety of sites and stalls, but the quality of them.
"I was struck by the investment companies put into their stands. It is a real spectacle and a visual feast. This is no doubt why CDFD has continued to grow over the past 21 years and established such a great name for itself.
"I am sure with such great exhibitors, CDFD will continue to grow and be a place people will continue to want to be a part of," he said.
All the favourites are returning this year along with several new exhibitors. A variety of competitions including the Norwood Farm Machinery Centre Tractor Pull Competition, Husqvarna Woodchopping and National Excavator will be sure to provide plenty of entertainment for the crowd.
New sponsors Massey University and Bayleys Coast to Coast have come aboard to sponsor the Massey University Agricultural Pavilion & Bayleys Rural Lifestyle Pavilion.
Chainsaw carvers will turn ordinary blocks of wood into works of art, the RNZAF will be doing an aerial display and the Taste of Central Districts is sure to get the taste buds tingling.
The big rural prize of a Suzuki quad bike and a Brent Smith trailer full of goodies for the home and farm has been donated by exhibitors. The competition is open to all field days visitors who have a rural address.
"We have a fantastic lineup of exhibitors and with more than 540 stalls, there will be something for everyone," event manager Cheryl Riddell said.
"It's great that Central Districts Field Days has survived and grown stronger," Cheryl said.
"We call it 'The best day off the farm all year' as farmers do put it on their calendars to come, check out new inventions and make their purchases."
* The Central Districts Field Days will be held at Manfield Park in Feilding from this Thursday through to Saturday. The main entrance to field days is from South Street with two more entrances off Kawakawa Road. Gates open at 8.30am each day until 4.30pm on Thursday and Friday. Gates will close at 4pm on Saturday.
- Straight Furrow
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