Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Toasting the Fieldays

I can’t let mid-year go by without reflecting on one of the most important events in the agricultural calendar – the National Fieldays at Mystery Creek.

The healthy relationship between farmers and Government was clearly evident on the day the Prime Minister and I attended Fieldays. Everyone we met on that wet Wednesday was welcoming and positive.

One reason for the vote of confidence was the Primary Growth Partnership initiative I announced on Budget Day.

PGP will deliver significant economic growth and sustainability across the primary sector. Continued economic growth in the primary sector is especially important in these tough economic times, and so is adaptability and resilience.

Hamilton, home of the Fieldays, is also the centre of dairy farming. The pressure the dairy sector is currently under was apparent, but so was farmer resilience.

With the reduced payout and drop in land prices, some in the dairying sector are struggling, but farmers I met over the day remained optimistic about the future.

Good farmers will refocus in times like these. Spending will be at a minimum.

According to Fieldays’ organisers, there was a shift in spending from large capital expenditure to maintenance. Sales weren’t as high as last year but the majority of exhibitors’ expectations were exceeded. So, if Fieldays is a yard stick for the market we should be cautiously optimistic and confident our sensible and business-driven farmers will lead New Zealand’s recovery.

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