This year, Fieldays will continue to focus on rural wellness, organisers say.
The Health and Wellbeing Hub is back, in a bigger location and with more organisations providing free check-ups and advice to visitors, some of which could be potentially lifesaving.
At Fieldays 2019, 11 malignant melanomas were detected, and one woman discovered she had type 1 diabetes – both serious conditions that were caught at the right time.
The Hub is run in collaboration with Mobile Health, a company which provides elective day surgery for patients in rural New Zealand and supports the rural health workforce.
Mobile Health chief executive Mark Eager said the initial idea behind the Hub was to build a "health centre of the future," and provide an interactive platform that farmers and growers can resonate with.
"With the Health and Wellbeing Hub, since we do things a bit differently, we get engagement from people that don't usually receive health care," Eager said.
At Fieldays 2019, 25,000 people visited the Health and Wellbeing Hub, even if they weren't expecting to, Eager said.
"In 2019, we'd see women walking into the Hub with purpose, spending awhile inside looking around. Later, you'd see them return with their husbands pulled along by the ear to get a check-up."
This year there would be "an abundance" of health check-ups on offer "that could easily cover the cost of your Fieldays ticket" organisers said.
These included hearing checks, blood sugar level testing, hepatitis C testing, skin cancer spot checks, blood pressure checks, atrial fibrillation checks, and confidential mental health support.
Organisations new to the Hub this year included sleep experts EdenSleep, the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, Anglesea Pharmacy, and The Pindrop Foundation - to share information on cochlear implants.
People could also visit the Covid-19 Vaccination Waikato DHB stand, with clinical experts ready to answer any questions.
Rural mental health was also at the forefront again this year in the Hub.
Wanda Leadbeater from the Rural Support Trust, a staple exhibitor in the Hub, said there were many stressors affecting farmers and growers that were completely out of their control. This took a toll on their mental health, she said.
"Pressures on farmers and growers, such as the weather or changes in the market, can often mean they work longer hours or suffer detrimental financial consequences."
"They are great at looking after their stock and crops, but sometimes they don't remember to look after themselves."
Leadbeater's advice to farmers and growers who were struggling with their mental health was to "talk, talk, and talk some more!"
"Reach out to others, whether it be friends, family, or someone at Rural Support. You are the most important asset in your business – take the time to look after yourself and asking for help is not a weakness if things are getting tough."
There was a new challenge at the Rural Support Trust stand this year, where visitors could try and beat the buzzer in a wire game to test how steady they were under pressure.
One of the special parts of the Hub was that it presented health and wellness in a such a way that people were open to interact and listen, Eager said.
He recalled a watt bike display from Rural Support Trust in 2019 which got farmers talking about their mental health.
"I'll always remember Rural Support Trust running a competition with a watt bike where people get on and have a race.
"What you actually see is farmers having a chat with the Rural Support Trust people, then they'd go away for a coffee to make a plan on how they can get support.
"They thought they were just watching a watt bike, but they ended up leaving with a lot more."
Find out more about Fieldays 2021 and the Health and Wellbeing Hub at fieldays.co.nz.