Organisers of the 2021 South Island Agricultural Field Days are looking forward to bringing people together in a celebration of the sector.
Chairperson Michaela McLeod says as a result of Covid-19 the agricultural sector, like so many others has struggled.
“Not just from a financial perspective but from a social perspective as well,” McLeod said.
“There have been a number of A&P Shows and other events cancelled around the country. They are such important events for farmers and traders, and I know it’s been very hard on a lot of people not having them.”
The South Island Agricultural Field Days held from March 24-26 it will be a big opportunity for the agricultural industry to get together. It will be a chance to celebrate all the latest developments and innovations in the sector as well as a chance to catch up with friends and colleagues.
Celebrating its 70th year in 2021, the South Island Agricultural Field Days is one of the largest and longest running Field Days in New Zealand. McLeod said the event will offer something to interest everyone - not just those in the agricultural sector.
“I’d say the technology sector has continued to advance this year, even with Covid-19.
“There are some exciting new innovations which people may have read about, but at the Field Days they will have a chance to see them, not only on display but in action. The working demonstration area has definitely expanded and we have made them more accessible to people.”
“There has also been a lot of work done on creating a fantastic lifestyle section which we are really excited about. It will be the place to find delicious food and treats as well as things like spa pools and other lifestyle products.
“We think it will be the perfect area for people to come together and catch up with friends over a beer and a bite to eat.”
The event attracts between 20,000 and 25,000 visitors over the course of three days to the Kirwee site on the outskirts of Christchurch.
McLeod estimates if someone was to walk around and visit every single attraction it would be about 10km of walking.
“That’s why we encourage people to come over at least a couple of days and take it easy. It is however doable in just a day. Over the years we have had buses doing day trips from as far away as Blenheim and people have still had a great day out.”
This is McLeod’s her first year in the role as Chairperson and it’s a position she has worked towards after more than 10 years on the organising committee, in a number of different duties.
“I really enjoy working with the fantastic bunch of people on the organising committee. I have got to know a lot of them well over the years in my various roles and they are some of the hardest working people you could ever meet.”
McLeod is a mother to two young children and along with her husband Ben runs an agricultural research business which conducts independent trials.
She says when she took the helm of the event for 2021 there wasn’t anything that needed changing.
“It’s already a very successful formula – I think the fact it’s been running for 70 years is testament to that. We had a social function earlier this year with past members from organising committees and stalwarts of the event. It was wonderful listening to their stories about what it was like in the earlier years of the event and just how much it has grown over the years.”
McLeod says a key component of the events success is the support from the local Selwyn Community.
“We love all the support we get and it’s really important for us to be able to outsource jobs to community groups. We always need help with things such as car parking so if anyone wants to get involved, we would love to hear from them.”