The event is an annual one, held in different parts of the world for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. In 2015 it is expected to attract over 200 agricultural journalists to New Zealand from over 35 countries.
Hugh Stringleman, chairman of the planning team for the New Zealand guild, said plenty of welcome support has come from the agriculture sector, with sponsorship already promised of nearly $200,000.
“Companies and groups very involved in agriculture can see the huge benefits to them from the positive publicity which Congress 2015 will bring,” he said.
“When over 200 overseas journalists write about what make New Zealand farming systems, agribusinesses, agricultural science and innovation unique and so successful, we expect very positive material in newspapers, magazines, radio, television, blogs, on-line and social media.
“The small New Zealand guild is really excited about hosting the event. While bookings don’t open until March a lot of overseas journalists are planning to come – and will be building NZ and Australian holidays around the congress. Lots of spin-offs for New Zealand in many ways,” he said.
But the Congress planning team is still looking for more sponsorship, to lower the cost of registration for the journalists, all of whom face expensive travel costs from Europe, UK, USA and Canada, Africa, South America and parts of Asia.
The four days of the congress will include speeches and briefings, plus plenty of visits to farms, plant and research facilities around the Waikato. The five streams for visits are dairy, red meat, horticulture and viticulture, science and innovation, and some broader agricultural topics such as a horse stud, equestrian field days at Mystery Creek, and the tea plantation.
As well there will be one pre-Congress tour to the Bay of Plenty, South Waikato and Hawke’s Bay and two post congress tours. One takes in Wellington (with some focus on stakeholder groups), Wairarapa, Manawatu and Kapiti Coast, the other the upper half of the South Island.
He said the guild is grateful to all its current sponsors for Congress 2015, including DairyNZ, Fonterra, AGMARDT, NZXAgri, MPI, KPMG,Tourism NZ, MFAT, Silver Fern Farms, Zespri, Ballance AgriNutrients, Gallagher, and Horticulture New Zealand, while it is waiting to hear back from several others.
Anyone interested in learning more about the congress, should contact Sue Miller, 0274510339, or email firstname.lastname@example.org