Message from Robyn Williams, 2018 SIDE Event Committee Chair

Irrespective of our age or stage in our careers, we are all on a journey. Making sure that journey leads us in the right direction starts with each of us, every day.  We all benefit from learning new things, personal development, connecting with friends, and meeting people who inspire us to keep doing the work to make it all happen.

SIDE is an opportunity to do exactly this and come away feeling energised and inspired by the people you meet, the key note speakers, and the workshops you attend. You’ll take home tangible outcomes and actions to implement in your farm business, and a sense of being part of a bigger community, celebrating who we are and what we do. Farming leaders sharing their knowledge and wisdom at SIDE is a key part of ensuring our sector wheels keep turning.

To ensure the continued success and growth of dairying, it is important we recognise that “It Starts with Us”, our theme for 2018. We are responsible for making positive changes in our lives to sustain our mental and physical wellbeing. From there we can embrace the responsibility of effectively leading the people around us to help them grow, and mentor them through their own progression. We all know change is inevitable – it is up to us to learn about and adopt innovation and technology into our businesses to keep up with those changes. We are part of an extremely successful sector that is envied around the world. Let’s take the pride we have in dairying and educate ourselves about how to work with the media, engage with our communities, and tell everyone our positive stories.

Like the early settlers of Dunedin who were on a journey from the other side of the world to create a better life, the 2018 SIDE organising committee are on a journey to make a great conference even better. Leading up to the 20th birthday of SIDE, we decided it was time to get rid of the 90’s hairdo and treat the old girl to a makeover.

So this year SIDE will have quite a different look and feel, with a new venue in the Dunedin Town Hall, and the conference condensed to a short, sharp, focused two days. We have worked hard to develop and deliver a programme that takes you on a journey too, making sure there is some fun along the way.

This year’s keynote and workshop speakers will deliver a programme that appeals to everyone involved in dairying, with a strong emphasis on delivering in-depth information and applicable tools for you to work with straight away. The rejuvenated format includes some longer session times where there will be time to delve deep, or you can choose our high energy, shorter workshops with practical applications. You will have the opportunity to share your stories and key outtakes with other delegates at our conference dinner, held at the world leading grass turf Forsyth Bar stadium.

On another note, invest some time in yourself and take the opportunity to see the All Blacks test themselves against France in Dunedin on Saturday 23rd. Combine this with SIDE on Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th and you have the perfect mini-break.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the makeover reveal!