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Irrigated agriculture comes under the spotlight

News Release – September 16 2008

Conference and Expo

Innovation and Sustainability

13 – 15 October 2008
Riccarton Park, Christchurch

Irrigated agriculture comes under the spotlight

For the first time in New Zealand Irrigation New Zealand is bringing together key stakeholders, scientists and water users at an international conference in Christchurch.

In the current climate of intense competition for water a clearly defined vision is not only a good idea but required for a robust and sustainable future.

Irrigation NZ is a leader in bringing sound science, tools with real benefits and rational thinking to the debate encompassing the economic and wider community benefit of irrigated agriculture.

With the Canterbury region a leader in national water issues and irrigated agricultural, Irrigation NZ is bringing the 2008 Conference and Expo to Christchurch.

The Conference and Expo planned for October 13-15, 2008 aims to bring together wider community interest in a multi faceted expo that will deliver the positives of irrigated agriculture, its technological innovations and positive outcomes for the benefit of all community interests.

The Conference and Expo is a unique opportunity to meet like-minded industry associates who want to grow their business and be informed by global and national keynote speakers.

The Event will address community interests targeting the benefits of the environmental, community and recreational interests in relation to sustainable economic growth based around efficient, effective and sustainable water use.

It will assemble industry experts, top farmers and business people – leaders in innovation and sustainability, business and motivation.

The conference programme has been carefully put together to encourage learning. To identify and discuss key issues that will encourage participants to look outside the square - to go home motivated for the challenges ahead.

The mix of both global and national keynote speakers, panel sessions and workshops will create an exciting environment for knowledge sharing and outstanding opportunities for networking and debate.

It is expected over 400 people will attend. The attendees will include key decision makers – farmers, consultants, researchers, scientists, politicians, engineers and central and local government.

A wide and varied exhibition will be staged as part of the expo giving conference delegates and members of the public free of charge exposure to the latest in irrigation industry business, product and technology.

Conference sessions will be based around several key themes:

- Global food security and sustainability

– Irrigated agriculture is a major contributor to meeting global needs for food from the subsistence level based on grains through to higher value food products based on animal proteins. This session will explore the predictions about global food security issues and its implications for irrigated agriculture both worldwide and in New Zealand.

- Water allocations and New Zealand options

– Water allocation for economic development and environmental sustainability is at the heart of the water debate in New Zealand. The decision on water allocation will have wide ranging impacts on water use in New Zealand, especially for irrigated agriculture. This session will bring the New Zealand debate into focus and allow some comparisons with developments elsewhere.

- Environmental enhancement under irrigated agriculture – Increasingly the focus of worldwide research into irrigated agriculture is to develop farmer friendly tools and technologies that can he used to reduce the environmental impact of intensive land use under irrigation.

There have been some promising developments about the way that irrigation water management can enhance environmental values in New Zealand and elsewhere. This session reviews some of these developments and indicates where we should be focusing our efforts for the future.

- Market realities – Increasingly access to export markets for high value agricultural products require both control of the production system and demonstration of sustainable land and water use practices. In many sectors export contracts depend upon availability of efficient irrigation systems. This session reviews the current market requirements and gives some idea of future responsibilities for irrigation farmers.

- Improving irrigation water management

– The key to demonstrating sustainable irrigation practice is to develop the tools needed to efficiently operate and manage irrigation scheme water takes and on-farm application systems. This session will review the latest developments in converting older surface supply systems into highly efficient on-demand operations and to improve water management and profitability on the farm.

For full programme, keynote speakers, more information and to register for the Conference and Expo visit


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