Country-style conference for deer industry

Organisers plan a down-to-earth approach for this year's deer industry conference in Methven.

Its theme is ''Grass Roots - Green Shoots'' and the focus will be on how best to improve productivity in an environment where there is competition between sectors for returns from land use.

The past two conferences have been in urban settings: Wellington and Queenstown.

This 39th annual event will be hosted by the New Zealand Deer Farmers Association (NZDFA) Canterbury branch, and will have a relaxed, country-style atmosphere to attract the industry's grassroots membership.

As well as its annual meeting, formal discussion and various keynote speakers, a high-country field day is planned.

A ''swannie and gumboots''-style formal will be held at which awards will be presented, including the Matuschka Award, awarded to an ''unsung hero'' of the industry.

As well as NZDFA and Deer Industry New Zealand sessions, issues affecting the industry, such as managing water quality and nutrients responsibly, will be topics for debate.

The conference is from Tuesday, May 20 to Thursday, May 22.