Losing the 'shop window' of Great Yorkshire Show is a blow to farmers, MP says

Breeders of pedigree livestock will miss out on the opportunity to showcase their animals in the shop window of the Great Yorkshire Show now the event has been cancelled, a Yorkshire MP has warned.

Tory MP and farmer Robert Goodwill said the cancellation of the show, which is "as much a social event as it is a business event", was "quite a blow".

The Scarborough and Whitby MP said: "It is the shop window of the pedigree livestock sector, and they will miss out on being able to showcase their stock.

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"Getting the supreme champion at the Yorkshire Show is a way of selling or marketing the progeny of that particular bull or ram."

The Great Yorkshire Show has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: Tony Johnson.

York Outer MP and fellow farmer Julian Sturdy said he was disappointed the event was not going ahead, "given its importance to rural communities in Yorkshire and the wider regional economy".

Join our new coronavirus Facebook group for the latest confirmed news and advice as soon as we get it www.facebook.com/groups/yorkshirecoronavirusBut he said: "It is however the right decision given the risk to public health and the months of planning needed to hold an event of this scale.

"The show has proven to be resilient when faced with setbacks in the past and I am confident that even greater numbers than usual will turn out to support the show when it returns in 2021."

Former Farming Minister Mr Goodwill said he employs one person on his 250 acres of mainly arable land near Malton, who was "self-isolating in a tractor cab", and that arable farmers would find it easier to comply with social distancing rules.

Robert Goodwill MP said the Great Yorkshire Show is a shop window for farmers.

But he said: "I think in farming operations where people have to work in close proximity such as pack houses, or maybe harvesting of intensive vegetables, there's going to be problems in terms of social distancing."

And he said the farming industry would face a long-term problem of its overseas markets disappearing if the restrictions continued.

He said: "The pig industry is very dependent on exports to China, China are desperately short of pork because of African swine fever, so the price has been reasonably buoyant of late because of the ability to export things like trotters and other bits of the pig that we don't eat, things like chicken feet as well.

"We're in a global market, certainly in terms of bacon, we export quite a lot of pork to Germany and we import different cuts from Germany, so all that depends on the free flow of trade.

"The lamb market in the UK is very dependent on exports to Europe, and if that can't continue for one reason or another, then there could be problems therefore in the marketplace."

But he said if the UK had to continue restricting imports from abroad it would have to rely more on home-grown fruits and vegetables.