Peter Nation is Chief Executive of the New Zealand National Fieldays Society
The New Zealand National Fieldays Society Inc. has a proud heritage and legacy built by many who have supported and volunteered with the organisation since its inception in 1968. The Society also owns the venue Mystery Creek, the Society’s 114-hectare home in the Waikato and one of New Zealand’s most versatile event complexes.
Our flagship event, Fieldays is the cornerstone event of NZ National Fieldays Society. As the largest agribusiness event in the Southern Hemisphere, every year Fieldays attracts over 130,000 from all over the world over four days in June. Fieldays presents New Zealand’s agricultural and primary sector with an international marketplace to advance agriculture, while honouring our four pillars – innovation, education, technology and internationalisation.
1. Mr. Nation, as chief executive officer of the New Zealand Fieldays Society, how do you manage to juggle such an activity?
I am joined by a fantastic team and we are effectively running a business, while we own and run events we also own the event centre, which is a large campus along with all the associated infrastructure and buildings. As an organization we are proud of our legacy and committed to advancing agriculture which underlies the events we run and the business we operate.
2. Have you visited exhibitions such as the DLG Field Days event in Germany? What attracted you, was it interesting for you?
Yes I have been to Eurotier in 2016 and Agritechnica in 2017.
Both events are world class, they are large and are very professionally run. I was excited to learn about DLG, the events, how they run what is stgaed at the event. As an International visitor who has affiliations with DLG we were well hosted.
3. Are there any differences between the way you manage developments in processes, technologies and farm inputs in crop production compared to other parts of the world?
No, we all face the same challenges across the world including growing population, shrinking land use, increased focus on sustainability and consumer demands along with a growing social license to operate.
4. What business advantages does New Zealand have as a location for your kind of enterprise?
We are a while away from our export markets and in relation to Europe we have a small population to feed. However we are a pastoral based agricultural food bowl with world renowned technology and innovation in the agricultural industry and related technologies. We are seen as clean and green with world class food safety and our food producers are proud of what we grow.
5. What do you expect for crop production in your country? What techniques do you see being applied?
Like other parts of the world we have limited area to grow crops and this is getting smaller through urban sprawl, increased focus on land use and sustaibaility. Water is a key ingredient in growing and food crops and our ability to capture and store water is a challenge. New Zealand is very focused on using technologies both developed in New Zealand and from around the world and we’re seeing the use of Robots, Drones and AI being used and developed more and more.
6. Where do you look for information to improve your management and your marketing activities?
Reading, looking at and attending other events like DLG’s is a great way to keep up with how others are doing things and keeping on top of the trends. We have a vision to be a world leading event business so a lot of what we do is about leading and trying new things so each year we constantly looking to improve and learn.
7. Showing the diversity of farming techniques across the world, what do you think about this?
Collaboration and sharing ideas is the key – for the world to feed the growing population, it will take many countries and busineses working together. Given the billions of people to feed now and into the future, one single country can not acheive this on their own.
8. What trends in agriculture today impact your business?
There are many changes with biosecurity and food safety and people are always wanting information. We see one of our roles as being am information transfer and being an enabler for information to be made available to the many consumers, businesses and influencers that visit us. The world we live in and produce food within is changing rapidly, one of our key objectives is to “advance agriculture through Innovation, Technology, Education and Internationalisation. We take these objectives seriously and build and develop our event annually to deliver on this objective and meet the needs of our consumers and partners. We have 40-50 countries visit our event annually, so we believe it’s a very good opportunity to tell the New Zealand story also.
9. You are a member of DLG. What attracted you to this international organization?
Our connection with DLG and other like organizations across the world allows us to remain connected to what you do and what is happening around the world so that we can learn improve and develop if we remain connected.