The 2006 Royal Show marked a turning point for UK agriculture,
according to its organisers.
Despite a heat wave and an associated nationwide slow-down in
retail spending of 11% visitor numbers fell by just 5% to 141,308.
The 7000 drop, thought to be equally divided between farmers
and other rural visitors, is attributed to record temperatures
that reached the low nineties (33 degrees Celsius) and triggered
an official Department of Health heat wave warning.
“It’s not surprising that some of our anticipated
audience stayed away as the media warned of the effects of the
heat and sun,” said Haymarket Land Events managing director
“But we were delighted with this year’s Royal Show
and I am indebted to all those who worked with us to stage it
this year,” explained Mrs Gill. “We made changes
to the format and to the content and, although there is always
fine-tuning to be addressed, exhibitors and visitors reported
a very satisfying outcome.
“One element that was outstanding was the quality of the
livestock on show. The entries were up by 200 on last year, and
we have received many comments about the magnificent standard
of the cattle, sheep and pigs on show. All credit is due to the
exhibitors and stockspeople who turned out superb animals in
very trying conditions. The excellence of the cattle we witnessed
in the Champions Parade in the Grand Ring shows that the Royal
Show has retained its title as the premier agricultural show.
“The Royal Show is a terrific institution and remains
an important source of information as we move into an era without
subsidies; an era where environmental concerns often appear as
important as commercial cropping and livestock production; an
era where many new landowners are starting up farming businesses
or smallholdings; a time when what we see as alternative crops
today may become the norm tomorrow; where consolidation and encouraging
a new generation of farmers into a restructured, more dynamic
industry is the aim.
“Nowhere was this more evident than the Royal Show conferences,
which proved to be hugely successful. There was a full house
on all four days, with standing room only on some. From the impact
of climate change on agriculture to the opportunities for young
people in the industry, we tackled the issues that really matter
in our rural communities, and the strong attendance shows just
how valuable delegates found the programme and the show’s
vital role in providing a platform for the industry.
“What we have witnessed at Royal Show 2006 has been a
great turning point for UK Agriculture, and it is heading in
the right direction.
“Major politicians came to the Royal Show this year and
set their road map for the future. We are now seeing a public
yearning to know more about the source of their food – and
Westminster now knows that. MPs came to Stoneleigh not to preach
but to listen; not to lecture but to learn.
“The platform that we have provided through the Royal
Show for policy-makers to glean the information they need about
farming and our rural way of life is unique. The fact that they
used that platform to announce their vision for the future is
perhaps one aspect that is most valuable and of which I am most
proud,” said Mrs Gill.
“We now have a lot to look forward to in an industry with
a bright future based on rural communities that can thrive with
farming at their heart. I look forward to Royal Show 2007 where
we can provide the platform to showcase the realities of this
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