• Expo Promises to be Inspirational and Educational

Expo Promises to be Inspirational and Educational

Sheep and beef farmers have the perfect excuse for a day off the farm this week at the very popular East Coast Farming Expo.

The Wairoa-hosted event, which is being held on Wednesday and Thursday (February 24-25), is the chance for farmers to work on their business, check out all many of exhibits and technology, be inspired listening to world-class speakers, and have some serious conversations with those who can help them in their farming operations.

Like many, Expo event manager Sue Wilson has been keeping a close eye on COVID-19 developments and it did call for one swift change.

“It was unfortunate the very well respected dog trainer Lloyd Smith made the call not to travel north because of the recent community cases, but we were really lucky to secure farm dog guru Allen Irwin,” Sue said.

"The Gisborne-based farmer is another one held in high regard as both a trainer and trialist. “How lucky are we to have such talent available right here in our own backyard.”

This year Sue and her team have endeavoured to open the Expo to more exhibitors than ever. “There is something there for everyone,” she says. From dog kennels to cloud storage options, solar water pumps, nutrition experts, genetics, communication gurus and more. “It really is a one-stop-shop for farmers.”

The seminars’ internationally-recognised speakers include serial technology entrepreneur Melissa Clarke Reynolds, Dairy NZ board member Dr Jacqueline Rowarth, livestock breeding specialist Aimee Charteris, chairman of Wools of NZ James Parsons, and chair of New Zealand Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Grant Bunting. The seminars run in 40-minute blocks across each day.

Mental and physical wellbeing is the focus for the two luncheons, featuring Farm Fit NZ’s Kane-O Briscoe and Will to Live founder Elle Perriam. Both luncheons are free to attend with a general admission ticket, but registrations are required for catering.

Wednesday evening’s Bayleys Muster promises much with an informative discussion with national Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard, adjunct professor Jacqueline Rowarth, regenerative farmer Greg Hart, Holistic Agriculture managing director Robbie Hill and the Climate Change Commission’s principal analyst Dr Philip Wiles who will delve into regenerative agriculture – myth or moneymaker? 

The genetics-focussed Beef + Lamb NZ workshop is expected to be well attended, helping farmers discover genetics fit for individual purpose including basic principles of assessing genetic merit and how to use these to find the best animals to improve their own herd or flock performance.

“We like to say coming to the Expo is accessing the best without the massive roadie to the Waikato and when I sit back and look at the list of who we have at the 2021 event, I am confident everyone will agree with the sentiment.”