Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The four-day rural showcase was a triumph for the organisers, with more than 120,000 people going through the gates of Mystery Creek, up from 117,000 last year.
The growing international connection was particularly notable with trade exhibitors from China, France, Italy, Argentina, Chile and the UK amongst those on show. This was really great to see.
The good relationship between farmers and the Government was clearly evident on the day the Prime Minister and I visited Mystery Creek. Sure, a small number of farmers wanted to voice their concerns about the Emissions Trading Scheme but this gave me a chance to debate the facts and give some realistic costs of the scheme, not the blatantly wrong figures some have been using.
As the largest agricultural showcase in the Southern Hemisphere, Fieldays shows how New Zealand agriculture is leading the world, and the important role rural communities play in our prosperity.
The theme of this year’s Fieldays was innovation and this was evident on many of the stands with organisers reporting new products and smart ideas driving good sales growth. It will be interesting to see the final sales results when they come through.
A highlight for me was the opportunity to officially announce next year’s theme – ‘Breaking Barriers to Productivity’. This is all about coming up with solutions to obstacles that stifle productivity in the primary sector.
As Minister of Agriculture, I am working hard to help deliver exactly these solutions.