The 2015 Potatoes NZ INC. Conference saw a new programme structure with a key focus on ensuring all attendees leave the conference with some key “take home” messages that they can apply to their own businesses.
The conference was held in Ashburton from Thursday – Friday 23 & 24th July.
On Thursday afternoon the PNZ Inc. R & D session was held at the Ashburton Trust Events Centre as part of the Foundation for Arable Research Conference and this was followed by the Conference Dinner held at Hotel Ashburton.
The Conference was officially opened the following morning with the PNZ Inc. AGM followed by the keynote speaker Ian Proudfoot of KPMG. Ian is KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness and has been involved in the development of KPMG New Zealand’s agribusiness focus group and annual Agribusiness Agenda though the leadership report series. He outlined strategic opportunities and challenges facing horticulture businesses in the coming year.
For the remainder of Friday morning attendees enjoyed main and concurrent breakout sessions which will were targeted at key sector interests – exporters, seed growers and fresh growers/marketers as well as on farm topics around irrigation – a hot potato this season! A concurrent session was also be centred on the new Innovation Group providing an opportunity for those interested in new product development to network with like- minded industry members.
The main morning speaker sessions were be provided by Professor Gary Secor, North Dakota University, who spoke on disease management and his zebra chip experiences and Ron Greentree, Australia’s largest grain grower, discussed his experiences in developing and growing his business.
With the afternoon session came an oppurtunity to streatch the legs and get some fresh air with a bus ride to visit a local potato growing operation as well as a presentation from Ravensdown on its latest developments and a visit to the Storage Hub, a centralised crop storage facility in Rakaia.
The conference was closed at 4pm, with a great feeling of a beneficial few days by all.
Thanks to all the industry sponsors and supporters – T & G, Bluebird, AGMARDT, AsureQuality, Bearsley Exports, Countdown, KPMG, Landpower, Plant & Food Research, Produce Agencies, Alex McDonald Seed Merchants, DuPont, SGS, Trimble and Ravensdown.