Walking into Fieldays this morning I was struck by the sheer size of the event. There are 1,400 sites this year and as we walked in we could see queues of people waiting to get in. It makes sense that its the biggest farming event in the Southern Hemisphere but I don’t think it really hits you until you’re at the top of that hill looking out over the sea of white tented sites.

Xero and Figured have been coming to Fieldays since 2014 (which is when we launched our Farming in the Cloud initiative). Our aim was to show the farming community that cloud technology can make running your business easier, smoother and quicker. We wanted them to know that we can connect all key players of the business – the farmer, the accountant, the farm consultant and the banker – through the use of a single, online ledger.

Not much has changed when it comes to our aim but I can say one thing – our stand definitely seems to get bigger and better year on year! It’s also very exciting to extend our reach to the global stage – this year we are host banking and accounting partners from the UK, Ireland, America and Australia, to give them a taste of how we do things in NZ.

The Xero Stand

At our stand in the Main Pavillion, we are joined by some of our awesome customers: the O’Briens, who run Hunt and Gather Bee Co and Volare – both of which were hits right from the start. We also had Ozone Coffee Roasters on board which definitely drew the crowds. It was great to see how busy we were.

We’ve brought these small businesses along as they epitomise exactly what we want to give to our customers: a healthy, work-life balance. Take the O’Brien’s for example, a tight-knit family of four. They now have so much time to spend with their kids, thanks to our cloud accounting solution, that they’ve brought four year old Kieran along with them.

Kieran has lofty goals while at Fieldays too. He has been saving his pocket money for a while now and has set his sights on purchasing a motorbike.

We are also joined by the Figured team and together, we have the most comprehensive and effective farm and financial management solution available. It’s exciting to see how far we have come in the last five years and what our cloud platforms have enabled us to do to empower small businesses within the agri sector.

Future of Farming

The theme this year is the future of farming and this has definitely been captured in the stands I walked by – technology use like artificial intelligence (AI) is prevalent and a couple of sites down from us are drone manufacturers. I haven’t had time for a ‘demo’ (cough, play around) yet but it’s definitely on the list of things to check out.

From my quick walk around I also spotted some nice looking machinery that I know would’ve made my life easier during my days on the farm. When it comes to sheep crutching I used to have to wrestle each sheep individually. Now you have a machine that clamps the sheep when it passes by in the run and holds it still so you can do what you need to with minimal fuss. I would’ve killed for a machine like that back in the day.

Highlights

One highlight which technically happened the night before Fieldays rather than today was receiving the present the Xero team gave me right before Fieldays. I’m a tall guy and my feet aren’t exactly small so the fact they found gumboots in my size made my day.

Another highlight was having Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy, visit our site. Ms Reddy is the patron of Fieldays and it was great to be able to show her round. She attended with her husband as well as a team of security and Army and Airforce representatives. She was keen to understand how we support the agri economy but seemed well aware of Xero and more flattering, was impressed with our growth.

Finally, we also had Makaia Carr come down to spend some time on our stand and have a chat with Hannah from Hunt and Gather Bee Co. You can check this out on Facebook and if you’re from the Waikato area I would definitely recommend getting yourself in the draw to win that honey package!

Fieldays is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint, but it’s been a fantastic first day (and the weather has even played ball too) so bring on the rest. We’ll be here all week (Main Pavillion, PC51) so come by, grab a coffee and some honey on toast, and let’s talk.

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