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Tractor racers raise funds for the Rural Support Trust
Katrina Thomas
/ Categories: National

Tractor racers raise funds for the Rural Support Trust

The money was raised through a first ever at the National Fieldays, Tractor Racing Experience

Photo: Left to right: Neil Bateup (Rural Support Trust), Janine Peters (Ag Drive) and Peter Nation (NZ National Fieldays)

Engines were revving and mud was flying as spectators sat on the banks of Fieldays 2022 watching competitors race against the clock, all in the name of the Rural Support Trust National.

The handing over of the cheque to the Rural Support Trust’s Chairperson Neil Bateup happened this week and New Zealand National Fieldays Society Chief Executive Peter Nation was delighted to have raised $4,500 towards the Trust’s critical work.

“Mental health is a big area of concern in rural communities and people often don’t know where or who to turn when things get tough. The work that the Rural Support Trust does is vital,” said Peter. “Also given what rural communities have had to endure this past week with the weather, makes what the work Neil and his team do so important”.

The money was raised through a first ever at Fieldays, the Tractor Racing Experience supported by Ag Drive Training who quickly stepped in and modified the much-loved annual tractor pull competition, offering visitors the opportunity to get behind the wheels of one of two identical tractors. Without the efforts from Andre Syben and his team of skilled instructors this event would have not happened.

As a result, Fieldays visitors were able to sit alongside Ag Drive instructors, the hardcore competitors times were tallied, with the fastest participants time being crowned the day’s winner!

“It’s not hard to have fun when you’re behind the wheel of a 200hpCase IH tractor racing your mates,” said Peter. “The Ag Drive team were amazing; they gave their time and expertise and it was a real thrill for people to get this opportunity”.

Rural Support Trust is a not-for-profit network of regional trusts that provide free and confidential assistance to rural people facing challenges in everyday rural life.

The Rural Support Trust is made up of farmers and those with a good understanding of rural life, acknowledging that there are often ups and downs, and the farming community face many stressors around health and wellbeing, financial pressures, animal welfare, employment matters and adverse events.

"It is great to be able to make a donation to the Rural Support Trust. But we also want to start conversations about rural life, which is an important part of Fieldays providing an event for farmers to take a break and get off the farm”, said Peter.

Fieldays organisers also provided the Rural Support Trust a site in the Hauora Taiwhenua Health and Wellbeing Hub, giving visitors the opportunity to stop by and chat with the trusts coordinators. “There’s real value in having people on the ground, getting in front of our farmers and sharing experiences, said Peter.”

Fieldays is returning to its traditional winter dates in 14– 17 June 2023

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