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Sir Ken Morrison to be the Yorkshire Agricultural Society President
2009-06-05

Yorkshire business man, Sir Ken Morrison CBE, is to be the President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society following next year’s Great Yorkshire Show.

Simon Theakston, Chairman of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society with Sir Ken Morrison at home with his cattle.

Simon Theakston, Chairman of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society with Sir Ken Morrison at home with his cattle.

Sir Ken, President, founder and former Chairman of Wm Morrison Supermarkets, has agreed to take on the honorary role for 2010/2011 following a career spanning 55 years in the food industry.

Simon Theakston, the Society’s Chairman said: “We are delighted that Sir Ken has agreed to become our President - he follows a long tradition of distinguished Yorkshire people who have carried out this important figure-head role. His reputation goes before him, not only as a successful businessman, but as a champion of the British farming industry and a strong advocate of using locally produced food.”

He added: “The announcement of future Presidents of the Society is always made well in advance in order to allow time for preparation. Our current President, Michael Bannister, will hand over the reins after this year’s show (Tuesday 14 – Thursday 16 July) to Richard Elmhirst, the President Elect, who in turn will hand over to Sir Ken on the final day of the 2010 show, Thursday 15th July.”

Commenting on his appointment Sir Ken said: “I have had close ties with farmers, and the meat and food industry generally virtually all my life, and have had a farm myself for many years. Indeed one of my early career choices was to work in horticulture but circumstances intervened, otherwise my life would have been very different. I’ve always tried to support farmers, both in business and personally, and now as much as ever, the agricultural industry needs to be playing to its strengths, and the Society is certainly a strength.”

Based at Harrogate, it is best known as the organiser of the Great Yorkshire Show, one of the UK’s premier agricultural events, which prides itself on its position as a leading showcase for the industry. The last five years have been amongst the most exciting in its 172-year history with preparations underway for the opening of the Society’s £5.1m Regional Agricultural Centre. The Centre will not only be its headquarters but also a focus for excellence for the farming and food industry. Part of the building will be a regional food shop and café, with many of its suppliers drawn from the local food producers, and there are offices which will be used by other rurally linked businesses.

Sir Ken is no stranger to the Great Yorkshire Show. “I’ve been a visitor for about 30 years, and it’s a very good event,” he said. “It is nicely balanced to appeal both to the general visitor as well as the farming industry. Its unique character gives it its backbone, and of course the Showground is blessed with wonderful facilities for use year round.”

His farming interest is both practical and informed. “We have about 1,000 acres over three farms, with sheep, wheat, barley and we fatten cattle in summer so it’s something I’m very serious about. We’ve also exhibited at the Great Yorkshire and will be showing again this year, in the sheep section with Beltex lambs, the butchers’ lamb classes and the carcase section. In 2007, he took the Lamb Carcase Championship with a Beltex X and, as sponsor of the Cheese and Dairy Show at the event, he has presented the prizes since the section was re-introduced in 2002.

During his year of office Sir Ken will represent the Society at events both at the showground and around the region, preside at meetings as well as provide guidance and support to the board of trustees.

Previous Presidents have included HRH The Princess Royal, HRH The Duchess of Kent Lord Harewood, The Marquess of Hartington, Sir Marcus Worsley and The Viscount Downe.

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Yorkshire Agricultural Society