TESTING times for a proud industry will not get the better of the country’s premier countryside show this summer, according to its director, who vowed the emphasis is firmly focused on looking forward.
Organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show are encouraged by the public’s enduring affection for the annual three-day showpiece of agriculture and countryside life, not least at a time when the farming industry is under considerable pressure because of low returns for produce at the farmgate.
Around 130,000 visitors are expected to file through the showground gates at the event’s Harrogate home between July 12-14, when farmers will set aside their business concerns to help the Yorkshire Agricultural Society educate people about rural life.
York farmer Charles Mills modelled the Society’s new tweed jacket ahead of tickets for the Great Yorkshire Show going on sale this Tuesday. Just 300 of the jackets have been woven by Abraham Moon of Guiseley and are available to order from the Society now. Matching scarves are available from the showground’s Fodder farm shop.
Mr Mills, who will make his Great Yorkshire Show debut as the Society’s show director this year, told The Yorkshire Post of his forward-looking agenda and why a difficult year for farmers will not stop them from attending.
“When people come here it is a social gathering too. It’s good to go and meet friends who you may only meet up with once a year, have a laugh and a joke, and it maybe helps ease the pressure they are under because it has been a difficult time for all sectors.
We mustn’t be too negative. We must look forward.Charles Mills, show director at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society
“But we mustn’t be too negative,” Mr Mills said. “We must look forward to a very interesting year, not just for farming but for everyone, with the possibility of Brexit.”
The referendum on June 23 is less than a month before the Great Yorkshire Show. On whether agriculture would be best served by an ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote, Mr Mills said he would listen to young people’s views “because they are the future of the industry”.
This year’s show promises new look forestry and country pursuits areas, 8,000 livestock entries and the opening of a new £10m exhibition hall. Educational public tours of the pig pens will be offered for the first time and the show will host the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society’s national summer show this year.
Demonstrations of a robotic milking parlour, using real cows, will be given by machinery firm Lely to show visitors how farming technology has advanced.
Mr Mills said: “Everyone should be positive in agriculture, it’s a wonderful industry to be in and the general public are taking far more interest in what we do.”
Tickets for the 158th Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate go on sale from Tuesday.
Advanced prices are £23 for adults, £10 for children and £56 for families of two adults and three children.
Gate prices during the event on July 12-14 are £27 adults, £13 children and £67 families.
Advanced tickets are available from the Great Yorkshire Show website or by calling the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s ticket line on 01423 541222.