I was at Fieldays last week, as an exhibitor in the Innovation Centre. It was an exciting three days plus one.
Here are some thing that struck me as I observed the weather, the people, the products and of course, the innovations.
First was that despite being the 50th anniversary year, the weather still made its presence felt. ’Twas not the parka-penetrating chill of the sou-westerlies. Nor the eeriness of foggy mornings. No, it was the wheel-spinning wetness that led to hour-long waits to get out of the parking lot that I remember most about the weather. Is 50 years not long enough to solve that energy-consuming problem?
Then there were the people. Those who looked away when eye-contact was imminent, those who freely gave a big smile without expectations of anything in return, those who listened to learn about dairy’s role in climate change, and those who either did not care or simply did not want to know. Guess which group was in the majority?
That so much of the activity was focused on products that we want but do not need, was the big disappointment for me. We will never achieve societal and environmental sustainability for as long as we try to consume our way to ego-satisfaction.
Finally, innovation in the agricultural sector is a major aspect of Fieldays and there were some really great ideas on display. However, unlike the judges view that the winners of the awards choose their problems to solve with care, it seemed to me that they choose their products not to solve the problems that the world need solving, but instead, chose them to make a profit.
Will I return for Fieldays 2019? Of course I will. Despite my cynicism, it was still a buzz. But I could do without the Saturday when the general public turn out.