11 May 2024

Outgoing chairman says county show can bring farmers’ food issues to light

The outgoing chairman of Nottinghamshire County Show’s organising committee says this year’s event is a chance for the farming community to show how it puts food on people’s tables – despite today’s highly challenging climate.

Richard Sheldon, who is stepping down after 25 years in the role, says the event, which takes place at Newark Showground on May 13, is an opportunity for the region’s agriculture industry to showcase itself to thousands of people across the day.

The show is organised by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, a registered charity dedicated to promoting, celebrating and championing the farming sector.

Richard, who will fulfil his duties as chairman for the last time on the day, says the society’s work has never been more important than at this time of rising costs and labour shortages, which have affected food production and led to supply issues in the nation’s supermarkets.

Richard has been associated with the county show for many years and remembers the halcyon days when its livestock competition involved many hundreds of cattle and sheep vying for the top prizes.

While the livestock aspect is still important, the show has developed more of a family feel, with the livestock, equine competitions and trade stands set to rub shoulders with entertainment, food and trade stalls, a Bake, Make and Grow competition and displays from the Red Barrows and the Young Farmers Club’s lawnmower race.

There is also an emphasis on nature and encouraging people to grow their own fruit and vegetables this year.

Richard, who will be replaced by incoming chairman and local farmer Des Allen, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as chairman of the show committee, but I feel it’s right that I hand over the reins to someone else and I have no doubt that Des is the perfect person to take the show forward.

“Last year’s event was a tremendous success and this year’s has all the ingredients to be even better.  It’s very clear how the emphasis of the show has changed over the years to one that promotes local food production and the importance of the farming industry to the general public.

“This has been highlighted over the past few months by the empty shelves in our supermarkets and issues over supply of eggs. The supermarkets told consumers this was due to avian flu when in fact it was their refusal to pay more to suppliers, despite the rising costs of egg production.

“Along with the events, competitions and fun on the day, these are the kind of issues that we can talk about at the show so that consumers can better understand the issues that surround the food they buy.”

Another farmer who is looking forward to balancing enjoying the entertainment with showcasing the agricultural industry at the show is Patrick White, who has been appointed this year’s show president.

Patrick, who heads up a family partnership running a pig and arable enterprise near Balderton, said: “I’m very honoured to be the Nottinghamshire County Show president, especially when I look back at all the esteemed people who have undertaken the role before me.

“I have attended nearly every show for 70-plus years and it’s certainly an interesting time to be president with everything that is going on in farming and with the food and cost-of-living crisis.

“Both crises, I think, have become a wake-up call for everyone to explore what is going on and, as well as the entertainment and everything else that will take place on the day, the county show is a great opportunity for the farming community to talk about its role in food production.”

Advanced tickets for the show are also now on sale costing £11 - although all children aged 16 and under are free of charge – and to book your place, visit www.nottinghamshirecountyshow.com