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Saintfield Show encourages more young farmers to get involved

By Richard Halleron

Published 20/06/2016

Lauren Kelly from Banbridge with her reserve Holstein champion at Saintfield Show
Lauren Kelly from Banbridge with her reserve Holstein champion at Saintfield Show
Grace Reid and her dad Frankie from Ballynahinch, with their prize winning Charolais bull
Spectator Jamie Dodd from Saintfield
Andrew Barr collected an array of awards with his Homeland flock

Saintfield Show enjoyed a record turnout of visitors at the weekend, according to the event's organising chairman Brain Hunter.

"Gate receipts are well up - but so are our costs," he added.

"Everyone involved with the society is giving up their time and professional expertise on a voluntary basis.

"Each summer sees agricultural shows taking place the length and breadth of Northern Ireland. Each event plays a critical role in promoting the farming and food sector within its locality."

Mr Hunter confirmed that Saintfield Show Society has a plan to bring its annual celebration of farming and food to the next level.

"This year has seen us strike up a very positive working relationship with Moneyreagh Young Farmers' Club. We now want to build the same type of association with the other clubs in our catchment area. Young people are the future of agriculture: we need them on board.

"But we also need to generate new income streams, in order to maintain the financial sustainability of Saintfield Show. And I strongly believe that local councils and the Stormont Executive can do more to support the invaluable work carried out by local show societies."

Northern Ireland Shows Association chairman Robert Dick visited Saturday's event at Balmoral Park. He agreed that the government should do more to support the activities of all the agricultural show societies.

Meanwhile, in the Saintfield show rings, the judges were dealing with a record entry of sheep. The inter-breed championship went to Co Down flock owner Diane Christie with a majestic Charollais shearling ram.

Judge Brendan Arthurs described his champion as a tremendous example of the breed.

The beef inter-breed championship was won by the Connolly family, from Ballynahinch, with their Charollais heifer. They had won the equivalent class at Armagh Show the previous week with the same animal.

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