Agricultural shows turn in a bumper performance

DESPITE economic gloom and occasional downpours, 2010 has been a "super year" for agricultural shows.

Bill Cowling, honorary director of the Great Yorkshire Show, said the past 12 months had seen organisers finally putting behind them the problems caused by animal movement restrictions and concentrating on what they do best.

Farmers and the public responded with strong attendances at the Great Yorkshire, Countryside Live and other big regional shows.

Among the highlights was a bright and sunny Kilnsey Show, after several years of downpours, and a record attendance for Driffield Show.

Mr Cowling said: "In the Yorkshire local shows we have seen an absolutely super year.

"The ones I have been to have had an absolutely buzzing atmosphere and attendances have been more than satisfactory.

"Times are hard but it is not the case that people are not going out or staying in their homes doing nothing – they have still been going to the smaller shows and the Great Yorkshire because it is a super day out."

He said livestock showing had well and truly got back to normal following setbacks caused by foot and mouth disease and bluetongue and added: "The shows that have been successful are the ones which have remained true to their agricultural roots.

"Shows remain focused on the livestock but have also moved with the times to give a greater emphasis on food and local provenance – which is very popular with visitors and I hope will continue."

Both the Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live saw a strong entry of cattle from across the country as the former cemented its reputation as the country's top show, following the demise of the Royal Show.

Mr Cowling said: "If you had been in a coma for 20 years and woke up you would still know and recognise the Great Yorkshire Show – that is part of its attraction. We expect the cattle classes to be crammed full in 2011, as they have been in previous years, and horses will be another fine show.

"We are the premier agricultural show in England and it is a lot to live up to. We want to push hard against the Scottish and Welsh shows and keep improving our offering."

Dates to look forward to

DATES have been set and bookings made for the 2011 Great Yorkshire Show.

The 153rd show will take place on Tuesday, July 12, Wednesday July 13 and Thursday July 14.

Headline act in the main ring will be trick rider "Lorenzo the flying Frenchman".

Tickets will be on sale from March 1 – online at www.greatyorkshireshow.co.uk or by telephone via 01423 541222.

An adult ticket bought in advance will be 19.

CW 1/1/11