News From The Farm Gate By Milly Wastie
Spring is definitely on its way! We have just started lambing on the farm and I always love this time of year, it’s always full of promise with new life. It’s also a very busy time of year and often most of the farming community will start to look at bit jaded and bleary-eyed after a night shift in the lambing shed as well as doing the day to day jobs and supporting a family too.
Farmers are very good at multi-tasking, turning their hand to whatever is thrown at them, with a lot of unrecognised skills on their CV. Midwife, electrician, labourer, vet, scientist, mathematician, economist, fencer, marketer, grower, a central part of the community and this list is not exhaustive.
The agricultural show season is around the corner and I’ve been busy thinking ahead about which shows I will attend. Perhaps with R.A.B.I. or just to show our pedigree British Blues cattle. Or maybe I will do a little bit of multi-tasking at shows wearing both hats.
The local and county shows are a fantastic platform or shop window to promote British Agriculture and invite the general public in to showcase what we do as farmers to produce food for the dinner table. I always enjoy supporting the show societies as not only are they steeped in history but they are full of pride in being able to deliver such fun and entertaining events for all the family.
I’m quite a novice when it comes to showing cattle. My husband-to-be Andrew got me into showing a few years ago. Whilst the crack of dawn starts are a killer, once you get to the showground it’s a hype of activity and the promise of a rosette or trophy is so worth it.
Show dates for your diary:
Rutland Show –Sunday 31st May
Blaston Show – Sunday 28th June
Leicestershire Show – Saturday 4th July
Market Bosworth Show – Sunday 5th July
Ashby Show – Sunday 12th July
I’m always amazed of the standards of entries too. People spend a lot of time and energy preparing all year for showing with halter training, feeding regimes and carefully selecting which animals they will take forward to a show. Everyone takes great care and commitment in making their animal look presentable and it always makes me chuckle when a farmer has a can of spray glitter and hairspray in his show box. Sometimes the cows wear more products than I do!
When I travelled to Australia last year, I attended the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference whose theme was focussed on how to successfully promote agricultural shows. I was lucky enough to tour around Queensland and visit several different show societies and understand how they engage with the public and encourage people to attend. The Australian Show societies hold their shows for a longer period of time than in the UK, some last up to 10 or 12 days in duration. They also have an active evening schedule with live entertainment and fireworks as well as all the livestock showing, main ring entertainment and trade stands during the day, there really is something for everyone.
After returning from the tour I listened to a gentleman who explained to us on how show societies can increase their brand awareness. He also reassured us that we have such a great asset that we need to protect and promote. We were blasted with witty YouTube clips and colourful slides followed by closing remarks which rang so true with me - Agriculture really is the biggest show on earth.
To get in touch with Milly Wastie, Tel: 07525 323450, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on twitter @millywastie
The R.A.B.I. confidential helpline number is: 0300 3037373
The next R.A.B.I. event is a charity team golf day on Friday 12th June at Market Bosworth golf club
For more information contact Ellie Richardson on: 07811 326027 or Veronica Sutton on: 01455 293452