An uplifting message to start the new year at traditional celebration of agriculture

Johanna Ropner, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire who will give the address at the Plough Sunday Service on January 12.
Johanna Ropner, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire who will give the address at the Plough Sunday Service on January 12.
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The traditional celebration service to start the new agricultural season will take place at Ripon Cathedral on January 12,  it has been announced.

The annual Plough Sunday Service, will feature representatives of Future Farmers of Yorkshire, RABI, agricultural chaplain Dianne Gamble and a main address by Johanna Ropner, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire.

Mrs Ropner said it was an honour to be invited to speak at the event which is an early highlight in the farming calendar.

“North Yorkshire has a long and proud agricultural heritage which remains enormously relevant in terms of its contribution to the economy and our way of life," she said.

"This county is at the forefront of delivering quality food from its world-class rural landscapes and with the right support, farming here can flourish for generations to come.

“The Plough Service offers a moment to reflect and give thanks to our farmers for the incredible contribution they make, often in testing circumstances, and to remind them of the support they have from the wider community, in these fast-changing and challenging times which lie ahead for farming.”

In keeping with tradition, a ploughshare will be presented in front of the congregation by member of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

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The service is supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and its farming networks, in collaboration with Ripon Cathedral, the Anglican Diocese of Leeds and four Districts of the Methodist Church. Representatives from a range of support organisations will also have a presence, including the Samaritans and the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries.

Kate Dale, co-ordinator of the Yorkshire Rural Support Network at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, said: “All members of our farming community will be welcomed warmly at this annual service which celebrates their vital role as food producers and as guardians of our glorious countryside.

“It is important that our farmers feel supported and valued for the work they do which is of enormous benefit to us all and we hope the service provides them with a timely, uplifting message at the start of the new year.”

The service will be led by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL, who said: “At the moment, with both environmental and economic difficulties, farmers have a particularly heavy burden to bear.

“My hope is that through this service our farmers and rural communities will find encouragement and be inspired to put faith and trust in God.”

Anyone who would like to attend is invited to arrive from 2.30pm for hot pork rolls and drinks, before the service gets underway at 3.30pm.