Whanganui's Farming for Change Expo focused on what the farming and agriculture industries might look like in the next 20 years.

The expo, run by Whanganui and Partners, included speakers from a range of industries throughout the lower North Island.

There were two themes: what the customer was likely to want in 20 years, and how farms might set up for success in 20 years.

Whanganui and Partners' strategic lead for agribusiness Colleen Sheldon said the changing political and economic landscape in farming required an understanding of how a consumer might engage with products.


"Our consumers are more food conscious and demanding more from farmers than ever before," Sheldon said.

"It's not just about access to food but rather those who seek higher standards and more traceability."

Technological disruption, dealing with commercial aspects of business alongside cultural conflict on Māori land, and benefits of employing the younger generation were also discussed.

Event speakers included representatives of a small medicinal herbs business, a production forest growing sustainable woodlots for bespoke timber furniture, and a landowner who is diversifying their business to better absorb changes in the market.

Sheldon said landowners were challenged to consider their enterprise as a family business, to future proof their farms by figuring out their markets and to add value to their commodities.

"We wanted people to take away new ideas, ponder things they might not have thought of and consider approaching Whanganui and Partners if unsure of the next step."