The future looks bright for farming and Ryedale Show.
That is the belief of many leading lights involved in the agricultural industry who took time out of their busy schedules to enjoy a sun-soaked 148th show at Welburn Park, near Kirkbymoorside.
Show secretary Tom Watson, whose day job is with Cundalls, said that even though the agricultural industry has suffered over the past few years, there is “optimism” in the short and longer term.
“If you look at agriculture, it has an ageing population but when you look at Ryedale Show there are a number of stockmen and a lot of trade stand businesses with young people running agricultural-based businesses,” he said.
“There are a lot of young people involved in the industry who are keen to grow and expand and offer a good service to the community.”
“People are proud to be in the industry and I think the general public know that the countryside is important and that UK farming provides good quality food and produce which is very important.”
His thoughts were echoed by Anne McIntosh, MP for Thirsk and Malton, who said there are more “young farmers” in the Ryedale area than anywhere else in the country.
More importantly, she believes, they are willing to look at technology to improve the way they operate their businesses.
“Younger farmers are very keen and positive in embracing new technologies, such as robotics and other such technologies, that could increase yield with less fertilisation and pesticides,” said Ms McIntosh.
Ryedale Show has traditionally been viewed as the “show window” for the local agricultural industry - and this year was no different.
There were record, or near- record, entries across the board with 1,327 entries, including 168 cattle, a near-record of 1,011 sheep, 55 fleeces, 34 pigs and an increased entry of 38 goats. Trade stands, featuring many business associated with agriculture, were also full to capacity, with up to 50 other firms turned away due to a lack of space.
Show director David Cussons, who has a 70-year association with Ryedale Show, said: “Over the years we have seen the quality and numbers in the livestock classes increase tremendously with farmers bringing their stock from all parts of the country. Ryedale’s reputation as one of the country’s top one-day shows has gathered momentum.
“The show is a big shop window for the farming industry not only for showing off some of the country’s livestock, but for the support it provides to many businesses directly and indirectly involved in it.”
And the secret of its success?
Ann Welham, now in her fourth year as secretary of the livestock section, believes it is a simple recipe. “We get a lot of feedback from people saying they had a great day. I think the setting, the people, and the atmosphere are play a big part.
Tom Watson agrees: “I genuinely think it is the traditional element and the nice setting. It’s nice to look down the hill and see all the stock. It’s a traditional show and people do like traditional shows. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
“It’s a social day – agriculture is quite an insular profession and a lot of people year-in and year-out love come and see their friends, family and tradesmen they deal with. It is truly a nice day out.”
He added: “The whole team within the show committee and the individual secretaries put an incredible amount of hard work in. Immediately after the end of the show, we are planning the next show. It is 365 days of hard work which is why it is as good as it is.”