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Fertile soils, adequate rainfall and a temperate climate have long been the keys to Cambridge's prosperity as a town.

Nature's gifts to Cambridge have enabled it become a town that thrives on agriculture, in particular the dairy industry which is responsible for more than a tenth of local jobs.

Cambridge's biggest single employer is Fonterra, the country's largest company and which produces 30% of the world's dairy products.

The equine industry also plays a major part in the Cambridge economy, with the Waikato employing more than half of the industry's national workforce and exporting more than $150 million of bloodstock a year, many of them born and raised in paddocks on the outskirts of the town.

Cambridge also attracts entrepreneurs who benefit from its central location, easy access to support services and having more than 400,000 consumers within two hours' drive. With lower overheads and cheaper housing than big cities, many small businesses have successfully based themselves in Cambridge.

The Cambridge area is also known for its horticultural production with asparagus, blueberries and strawberries being the main crops.

Tourism has been an increasing focus within the Waipa District, based around activities on Lake Karapiro and at the Maungatautari Ecological Island, 3,400 hectares of pest-free mountain reserve, offering sanctuary to native birds and endangered species.

Despite the global recession, the Waipa District has fared better than most in recent years. In the two years to March 2011, Waipa's Gross Domestic Product grew 2.8%, compared to 0.2% for the national economy. This ranked Waipa sixth out of the 72 local authority areas monitored by economics firm Infometrics. GDP for the year was estimated at $1.4 million for Waipa.

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