Graham Roobottom, chairman of the English Winter Fair – the country’s largest national winter primestock show, is extending an invitation to producers, sponsors and exhibitors disappointed by the demise of the AgriLIVE Smithfield show.
“My message is simple. I have sympathy for RASE and the Royal Smithfield Club as organizers of AgriLIVE in coming to their decision in what are unmistakably difficult economic times for all shows.
“It is sad to see another agricultural event close its doors, especially one with such a long history in the national winter show arena.
“The winter show scene is a very integral part of farming’s calendar. And it is with that in mind I want to extend an offer to producers, exhibitors and sponsors affected by the AgriLIVE decision to consider joining us at the English Winter Fair, Stafford, on Nov 20-21.
“I know many feel let down but England still retains a truly national show here at Stafford. In particular I share the frustration of those producers who bought cattle specifically to show at AgriLIVE. We are fortunate at the English Winter Fair in attracting 450 prime animals to the show rings alongside 130 pens of lambs, live pigs and carcase classes.
“There have already been a number of comments in the news and on-line highlighting the loss of classes for native breeds of cattle. We host classes for Aberdeen Angus, Hereford, Welsh Black, Longhorn, Lincoln Red, South Devon, new classes this year for Devon cattle, alongside British Blue, Simmental, Charolais and Blondes.
“2010 is also promising to be a landmark year for the English Winter Fair as it puts greater emphasis on encouraging young handlers into competitions. This has been made possible by help from sponsors, Young Farmers Clubs and retailer Asda.
“The English Winter Fair shares with Smithfield a long heritage in organising events for our key supporters - farmers. We remain a show organized by producers for producers and try to make the event as user friendly as possible. It is essentially a people’s show.
“There can be no getting away from the economic pressure faced by all show organizers. The loss of AgriLIVE Smithfield is regrettable and has already clearly affected a number of people hoping to attend the event at the NAC scheduled for Dec 2-3.
“You are welcome to join us for our 2010 show. We would welcome discussions in the coming months with the Royal Smithfield Club and their supporters as to how the legacy of Smithfield and AgriLIVE may be accommodated in future years.
“Producers, trade exhibitors or sponsors are welcome to contact myself on 07973-460757, chief executive Richard Williams on 01785-258060 or show secretary Kate Tomlinson on 01283-820012 for help. New trade stand and sponsorship enquiries are welcome and entries for cattle, sheep and pigs close on Oct 20. Schedules are also available on-line at www.staffscountyshowground.co.uk for those with internet access.”
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