Planning to start for Field Days

There has been a change at the top, with Michaela McLeod (right) taking over from Rodney Hadfield (left) as South Island Agricultural Field Days chairman, while secretary Tineka Johnstone is looking forward to the 2021 event. Photo: CRL archives
There has been a change at the top, with Michaela McLeod (right) taking over from Rodney Hadfield (left) as South Island Agricultural Field Days chairman, while secretary Tineka Johnstone is looking forward to the 2021 event. Photo: CRL Archives
Planning is about to get under way for the 2021 South Island Agricultural Field Days, after a short winter break.

Organising committee secretary Tineka Johnstone said the committee held its annual meeting last month and elected its first chairwoman, Michaela McLeod, of Darfield.

She said the organising committee took a break following its debrief after this year's field days held at Kirwee, near Christchurch, in March.

''We always take a few months off after the field days to give the volunteers a break, but we've got a couple of meetings before Christmas where we will start planning for the next one.''

Ms McLeod replaced Lincoln farmer Rodney Hadfield, who presided over the field days in 2017 and earlier this year.

''Usually, the field days chairman just does one field days, but Rodney did two, because it was my first field days as secretary this year and Michaela was expecting a baby,'' Ms Johnstone said.

''But Michaela has had an extra two years, so she has known it's coming and she's looking forward to it.''

Other than the change at the top, ''it's business as usual'', with just one organising committee member stepping down, ''after 19 years service'', and two new recruits joining.

Mid Canterbury farmer Hayden Dorman is vice-chairman and is likely to step up for the 2023 field days.

North Canterbury farmer Alastair Robinson, of Waikuku, is staying on as governance committee chairman, having served as 2015 field days chairman.

Other committee roles would be allocated over the next two months.

The organising committee will also work on a new strategy, as it looked to set some short- and long-term goals for the two-yearly event, the field days site and the overall governance of the organisation, Ms Johnstone said.

In between field days, the site was leased to neighbouring farmer Tony Redmond, but there was also growing interest in using the site for other events, with the Fencing Contractors Association of New Zealand hosting a training day on the site earlier this month.

''It's about finding a balance. We only use it for one month every two years, so it has to be a viable farming option so we can earn an income to pay the rates and insurance,'' Ms Johnstone said.

The next South Island Agricultural Field Days will be held from March 24-26, 2021, at Kirwee.

-By David Hill

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