New Zealand primary producers are masters of efficiency and innovation and remain the back bone of the New Zealand economy, Minister for Primary Industry David Carter said before cutting the ribbon to officially open the 44th New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek yesterday.
The minister, who has just returned from Russia for talks about a free trade agreement, said the prospects looked promising.
Friends in the Fridge – people were lining up to be photographed in Fonterra’s over-sized `fridge’ at Fieldays 2012.
“Trade with Russia is currently worth $700 million, but under a free trade agreement we would expect that to grow significantly. What impressed me was how well New Zealand is regarded as a producer of the best food in the world and we need to protect that reputation and the quality of our products.”
David said New Zealand was cushioned somewhat from the financial crisis in Europe by its increasing trade in Asia. “China is now our second largest market and has grown by 40 per cent last year which show the benefits of the free trade agreement.”
Some of the thousands who thronged the streets of Fieldays `city’ stopped to listen to the opening speeches and watch the Fieldays and New Zealand flags raised before wandering off to enjoy what the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event had to offer.
Traffic was reduced to a crawl for some kilometres before the site from around 8am on Wednesday and witH the Met Service forecasting fine, frosty weather for the next three days, attendances are likely to be large until the final day on Saturday.
On Wednesday, food and drink stalls did a brisk trade – and despite the freezing start to the day (-2 degrees), even ice creams sold well. So did novelty woolly hats with animal faces, possum and marino gloves and scarves.
There’s a non-stop programme of things to see and do from the tractor pull and fencing competitions, to vintage tractor parades, western riding, sheep dog trials and the Suzuki extreme air motorcycle jump display. There’s cooking shows in the Placemakers Kiwi’s best kitchen theatre, a lamb boning demonstration, fashion with a twist in the Ag Art Wear awards and clever inventions are on display in the Innovation Centre.
There’s even a daily series of seminars on topics from food and the environment to the right to farm. The premiere feature this year is ‘The Changing Face of Farming’, which takes a look at the shift away from traditional family ownership.
This year, organisers have improved transport between car parks and installed more seating so there’s plenty of opportunity to sit and rest, and no shortage of places to buy food and drink.
Fieldays run until Saturday June 16. To find out more visit www.fieldays.co.nz
Dairy Fairy was the name of this design in the AgArt Awards - made from materials found on a farm.
The stirring sounds of a pipe band were part of the opening ceremony.
Big tractors are a source of fascination at the 2012 Fieldays.
Young riders receive tuition in the dressage arena.
Focus – sheep dog trials are among the attractions at the 2012 Fieldays.
Monique Frost (14) and Charlotte Dobbie (14) of Mount Managnui College found some fascinating headgear at the 2012 Fieldays on Wednesday.