TIME TO DUST OFF THE BOWLER HAT
Published 20 June 2022
This month sees the welcome return of what is the largest, two day agricultural show in the Country: The Royal Norfolk Show. With a pause of two years, hopes are high for two dry and bright days at the end of this month when (hopefully) in excess of 100,000 people will come through the gates at the Showground.
There are many reasons to love the Show. For a start, it’s an opportunity to showcase the best in livestock, from commercial beef animals to pigs, horses, cattle and poultry.
It’s a chance to see the latest in machinery and new technology whilst also supporting local farmers via the NORMAC stand where they showcase innovation and adaptations to machinery which they have built themselves to overcome a particular problem.
The Show is agriculture’s opportunity to demonstrate the value of what it does to the wider world, and to boost understanding amongst the public about where their food comes from, and the role farming plays in the stewardship of the countryside.
At a time of food insecurity, it has never been more important for young people to understand the role that farmers play in ensuring there is always food on their plate. Whilst some schools do come as part of an organised trip, I think that more needs to be done to increase attendance by children over the two days, as it’s not just animals and tractors on offer but also the Discovery Zone which aims to link Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) with food, farming and the countryside.
Above all the Show remains about the people who work in the countryside, and celebrating those individuals (such as the Long Service Award scheme which recognises those who have worked in the agricultural industry for a period of 40 years or more).
Beyond that, over the course of two days are plenty of opportunities for people to stop and have a mardle, to catch up, to share problems, and to realise that no matter how bad things might seem, farming remains a tight-knit and supportive community.
I have been a steward at the show for 16 years, and my colleague Simon Evans for many more years than that (he asked me not to mention the exact figure). For those of us who work in the farming industry, the chance to give something back by volunteering in Show week is hugely rewarding and there is great camaraderie amongst the stewards.
Now, where did I put that Bowler Hat…?!
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