Farmers' favourite day

By Cherie Taylor

It's time to put the cows in the paddock, hang up the milking cups, put the answerphone on and head to the biggest agriculture event on farmers' annual calendar - National Fieldays.

The 45th event, expected to attract thousands of people, will be held at Mystery Creek from June 12-15.

A tent city will pop up in the bowl of Mystery Creek, with more than 1200 displays and stalls, from possum skin products to the newest technology available to farmers, and other innovations and inventions dotted around the large outdoor and indoor setting.

The Rural Bachelor of the Year competition, with a transtasman twist, is on, with Kiwi blokes and two Australians competing for a $23,000 prize package. The winner is announced at Fieldays after three days of gruelling competition.

Ag Art Wear, with daily catwalk shows, culminates in a glitzy Rural to Runway gala dinner and award, with the rural bachelor finalists taking to the catwalk as well on June 14.

Celebrity chef Josh Emett will hold demonstrations three times daily in Kiwi's Best Kitchen, one of the busiest marquees at Fieldays.

Seminars are held throughout Fieldays. Guest speakers include Dairy New Zealand chief executive Tim Mackle, Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy, and Waikato University's professor of Agribusiness, Jacqueline Rowarth.

Many exciting competitions are also held, including tractor-pulling, fencing, the National Excavation competition, the Big Little Town Festival, Stihl logging, and the Kiwi No8 Wire competition. This year, Fieldays is launching a new Dragon's Den-style innovation, Pitch For Investment.

Soda, an entrepreneurship centre, will select up to 10 commercially viable inventions participating at the Fieldays Innovation Centre to showcase, and will support the inventors to get their invention pitch-ready for the judges.

The event will follow a similar format to the acclaimed Dragon's Den TV programme, where participants pitch their inventions to a panel of esteemed investors and business leaders in the hope of securing advice and investment.

The Fieldays Innovation Den judging panel will feature influential business moguls and investors from around New Zealand, including heavyweight Ray Thompson, who is also the New Zealand Angel Association chairman.

The event will be a highlight of the Innovation Centre and will give national inventors the chance to obtain knowledge about the business world and how to take their inventions into global markets, says Jon Calder, National Fieldays chief executive.

"Innovation has always been at the heart of Fieldays. It's one of the principles on which Fieldays was founded and we've seen a number of individuals and companies launch new products and innovations at Fieldays going on to achieve global success."

To find out more about the Innovation Den, and how to enter the Innovation Centre Competition, visit

- Hamilton News

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