A rural celebration
As the sun set in Rathensika this afternoon, the buzz and excitement was electric.
From last minute set-ups to livestock transport, from garden layouts to machinery dig-outs, the site is ready, with many of the stronghold working through the night on the final touches.
More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the National Ploughing Championships in Co Laois and the organisers are very hopeful the good weather will result in more money being spent.
The annual festival is the biggest event of its type in Europe, consisting of 700 acres and generating €40m over the course of three days.
Only one in five people who attend are local, with the rest coming from further afield throughout Ireland, most of them repeat visitors who come every year, according to the organisers.
Speaking to AgriLand, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney TD said the Ploughing was the biggest event of the year for rural Ireland.
“It will be an opportunity for a lot of things, for a lot of farmers to meet and question the minister which I am looking forward too. For networking, for doing business. A lot of farmers will purchase machinery during the week.
“Really what the Ploughing Championships has become is the biggest event for rural Ireland each year, where predominately, the farm families take a day or number of days to meet their peers, their friends and other people involved in agriculture and the agri-food industry to discuss the issues of the day and to celebrate what has been a difficult but quiet a good year.
“We had a difficult start to the year with the fodder crisis, we had political challenge in reforming a Common Agriculture Policy in a way that farmers could accept and be enthused by.”
The Minister added it will be an exciting celebration. “We got through all of that, and we got a really good summer, so it’s a celebration. It will be a celebration of a good summer and a statement of confidence as well because we have a lot to look forward too.
“Moving on to the end of dairy quotas, all the ambitions in the Harvest 2020 plans that I a lot of farmers are buying into now. And the enthusiasm in farming is evident as a lot of young farmers are buying into it, choosing agriculture.”
Over the course of the next three days, AgriLand will live stream all the action at the Ploughing. Interviews with Ireland’s leading farming and political figures are set, so too with representatives from the European Commission on all things Common Agriculture Policy Reform.
In addition, features on all the activities are planned, including celebrity and sport interviews with top rugby and GAA stars. Also keep watch for the big screens around the Ploughing and our AgriLand team on the go!
Enjoy the show and spend wisely!