Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Fieldays looking good - chief

Fieldays is the largest agri-business event in the Southern Hemisphere. Photo / Alan Gibson
Fieldays is the largest agri-business event in the Southern Hemisphere. Photo / Alan Gibson

The Southern Hemisphere's largest agri-business event kicks off near Hamilton today and its new boss claims it has all the ingredients to be a success, despite tougher times for dairy farmers.

Peter Nation, who took up the chief executive role three months ago, said Fieldays' success did not hinge on the dairy payout alone and believed the forecast for fine weather and attendance from other agricultural sectors would buoy the event.

"There will be a few dairy farmers that are a little cautious ... but there are a number of pieces to the agriculture industry, like horticulture, that are having good years and who also come to Fieldays. As do lifestylers, who also buy tractors and other farm implementation for their block. It's a very balanced approach."

Nation, who has gone to the event for the past 20 years as both an exhibitor and a visitor, has been impressed with the investment made by the 1487 exhibitors this year, including large brands who have spent the past six weeks setting up their exhibits.

Ford New Zealand has created a Ford Everest off-the-grid experience which has a mountain, bridge, tunnel, water wading and axle articulation holes so punters can use the track to put the SUV's capabilities to the test.

Nation said there were also 37 paid staff and a small army of 200 volunteers working to bring the event at Mystery Creek together.

Popular events such as the rural bachelor competition and tractor pull would be running again, with the addition of a kids' tractor pull, and the society had also introduced a new Careers and Innovation hub to promote the agri-industry to students, he said.

The 28th Fieldays runs today until Saturday.

- NZ Herald

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