Belfast Telegraph

Balmoral Show: Farmers 'slogging their guts out' inspires rugby star

By Rachel Martin

Ireland rugby captain Rory Best said growing up watching farmers "slogging their guts out every day" has pushed him to become an ambassador for local produce.

The farmer-turned-sports star said his farming background made him appreciate the value of Northern Ireland food.

"I've been privileged enough to travel the world but it's made me realise just how privileged we are to be in this part of the world," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I suppose from a farming background, growing up on a farm and seeing what we produce you see the ups and downs of the agricultural sector - how difficult it is and how it is so easily affected by weather and world prices - it has shaped how I see food.

"There are some really good companies here - like Dunbia, who I'm here with today - that are at the forefront of the industry.

"We have some of the best farmers about - I've travelled all over the world and for me our biggest fault can be that we're hard on ourselves, we don't like to talk about the things we're doing which are really good, I think a lot of other countries would be shouting louder than we are.

"I think it's very important to get the message across and to realise that things like checking the packets to see where your meat comes matters so much to farmers."

This year, Rory brought his two Aberdeen Angus bulls to the show - but while the judge's eye wasn't quite on Rory's cattle, he said he didn't mind.

"They were fifth and 10th in their classes - but my friend Neil Walker spent a lot of time on them and they went out looking really well so that's the most I can ask for," he said.

"We're not trying to produce anything overly big in size, so we don't mind.

"We have a type of animal we want to produce and we want to be known for - it mightn't necessarily be the type of thing that'll win a show but we hope someone will take a look at them and think they would work well on their farm."

Belfast Telegraph

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