Interest in field days from north of Waitaki

Paul Mutch
Paul Mutch
South Canterbury businesspeople are showing strong interest in the Otago Field Days.

They are to be held at the Palmerston Sale Yards alongside State Highway 85 on October 4 and 5. Chief executive Paul Mutch said exhibitors from north of the Waitaki River were keen to be involved.

He had spoken to many potential participants at the South Island Agricultural Field Days at Kirwee and had also attended the Waimumu equivalent. The Otago Field Days were located halfway between the two and had the advantage of offering a presence to rural goods and services providers every year rather than every two years, he said.

Other interest was coming from throughout Otago and further afield.

Since signs promoting the event were installed at the Palmerston Sale Yards on June 18, feedback had been coming in, he said.

Many of the sites were booked by exhibitors who had attended in previous years.

The field days have developed considerably since they were first held at the Palmerston showgrounds in 2016 as the East Otago Field Days - a new venture from the Palmerston and Waihemo A&P Association.

A charitable trust had now been formed and a team of volunteers aligned with it to run them, Mr Mutch said.

''We knew we needed a new entity right from the beginning.''

The organising committee had always sought feedback from field days participants and acted on it.

''We said 'let's do the changes now - get it established'.

''What we've really learned a lot about is the meaning of the term 'on-site'. We're all meeting on neutral ground on neutral terms.

''We can develop a lot of systems for farming and support industries.

''It's personalised. That's how you get it the way you want it. On-site, individuals can have their experience tailored. We're focused on that now. That understanding is vital.''

The field days brought together many people with similar interests and experiences in one place, giving many businesses and community groups the sort of access that would otherwise be impossible, Mr Mutch said.

That had been seen with the Health Hub at previous Otago Field Days. It had now gained support from the Southern District Health Board, which could easily get its messages to a lot of rural people in the two days.

Likewise, technological advances in farming and new environmental initiatives could be explained face-to-face to a receptive audience.

The field days will be open to the public from 9am to 4.30pm both days. Admission is $10 for adults and free for those aged 16 and under.

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