Transforming Primary Industries: Fieldays Innovation Award Entries Open Now
From shed-based creations that have impacted thousands, to industry-transforming primary-sector innovations, the Fieldays Innovations Awards have a rich tradition of recognising ingenuity and innovation and continue to serve as a powerful catalyst for transformational change within Aotearoa’s agricultural sector.
With entries now open for Fieldays 2024, taking place from June 12 to 15, it's that time of year for the shed tinkerers, ingenuity enthusiasts, and work shed warriors to mark their calendars. The Fieldays Innovations Awards are a celebration of creativity and resourcefulness, recognising that groundbreaking ideas can emerge from the most unexpected places.
“Whether you're a farmer with a clever new tool to boost productivity, a visionary engineer with an invention to change the entire industry, or a student with an idea that you think might just work, your innovation can have a lasting impact,” says Steve Chappell, Fieldays Programme Manager.
“We also love to see entries from established Fieldays exhibitors showing their new innovative products. It is great for the first-timers to be situated alongside a company that has a global presence. The Hub has a great collaborative atmosphere even though everyone is competing for the same prizes. The Innovation Awards showcase the best innovations from NZ and around the world and are a must-see part of Fieldays.”
Entries are encouraged from across the Primary Sector, which refers to: Dairy, Meat & Wool, Forestry, Horticulture - including Viticulture, Seafood - including Aquaculture and Fishing, Arable, and Agri Tech - including Food Tech and Green Tech.
“Last year saw an increase of entrants from the sustainability and green-tech areas, highlighting the diversification of farming currently happening in New Zealand, but we also saw strong representation from the traditional on-farm or on-orchard solutions from across sector.” says Chappell.
The globally renowned awards programme encompasses a diverse range of categories ensuring that innovation at every stage of development and from all walks of life is celebrated and supported.
The Prototype category is the incubator of fresh ideas and early-stage concepts and provides a platform for individuals or teams to showcase their early-stage innovations.
The Early-Stage category highlights innovations that have moved beyond the conceptual phase and have launched commercially as practical, real-world solutions within the last year. It's a stage that demands commitment, creativity, and perseverance, and these innovators deserve recognition for their progress.
Innovations in the Growth & Scale category are making their mark in NZ and globally and have market entry and commercial success in at least two countries within the last four years. They have the potential to enhance productivity, sustainability, and profitability, and their creators are ready to take their innovations to new international markets.
The Young Innovator of the Year Award once again recognises the importance of fostering the next generation of food and fibre innovators who bring fresh perspectives and bold ideas to the primary sector. Open to entrants in all three categories who are 19 years and under, Young Innovator highlights those innovators unafraid to push boundaries from a young age, and think outside the square.
Fieldays continues to evolve the awards each year, and this year there are some exciting changes planned:
- A new look for the Awards and a redesigned Fieldays Innovation Hub
- A new judging process with Short-listing of finalists in each category, with both online judging pre-event, and onsite judging at Fieldays
- A new People’s Choice award (that all exhibiting entrants are eligible for) with a prize for the winner, and also for one lucky voter.
“Year after year, we are continually amazed by the exceptional quality of our entrants. I urge all those innovators out there who have that brilliant idea but might be uncertain about its potential to take a leap of faith and apply. Fieldays is built on innovation, and this is the ultimate platform to showcase your ideas." says Chappell.
The Fieldays Innovation Awards are supported again by sponsors Amazon Web Services, Gait International, King St. Advertising, NZME, Sprout Agritech, and Blender Design. These sponsors combine with Fieldays to provide over $70,000 worth of cash, support and promotion - from expert advice, product design and development, and marketing and media support, all designed to help the winners grow and develop their product.
An online information session is being held on Thursday 9 November at 9am for those wanting to know more about the Fieldays Young Innovator of the Year Award category. Register here fieldays.co.nz/innovation.
Entries are open now until 1.00pm Wednesday 24 April 2024. Full details of the awards, including important dates, the Ts and Cs, FAQs, and Category Criteria, can be viewed on the Fieldays website at fieldays.co.nz/innovation.