The National Ploughing Association (NPA) and Bank of Ireland this week launched a promotional brochure giving details of the upcoming 82nd National Ploughing Championships taking place from 24-26 September in Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co Laois.
Ireland’s largest outdoor event is making a long-overdue return visit to the area for the first time in 70 years, since the championships took place in Lamberton, Ratheniska in 1943.
Bank of Ireland was represented at the launch by Sean Farrell, Head of Agriculture, Bank of Ireland Business Banking who said: “The National Ploughing Championships is a very important sponsorship for the bank. We approved in excess of €500m in new and increased lending to the agri sector last year and we have ambitions to grow this figure in the current year.
“In focusing on this growth drive, we recently appointed a new team of agricultural development managers to ensure that we can support our existing and new farming and agri customers. We would encourage anyone in this sector who is looking for credit to come and talk to us. We will have our annual stand at the event and new and existing customers can come and meet with us there”.
Also present were host farmers David & Clive Carter, Anna May McHugh and NPA Chairman James Sutton.
This year will see an array of new and exciting exhibitor’s as well as hundreds of veteran companies showcasing their products and services.
In the machinery section for the first time we have Lucas G SAS, travelling from France to showcase their feeders, straw bedders and diet feeders. All of the agri sectors will be well represented and a number of product launches are at the planning stage.
The NPA is working in conjunction with Failte Ireland and Tourism Ireland to be part of the Gathering Ireland Initiative for 2013. We will be introducing a traditional Irish Céilí to the 2013 event as part of the Gathering Ireland, showcasing traditional Irish culture to our overseas visitors
The Leader Village will again be presenting entrepreneurs, businesses and a variety of groups supported by Leader, exhibiting a fantastic diversity of products and services all under one roof. Laois County Council will be showcasing the best of the economic, social and cultural services that Laois has to offer.
Returning to the show this year will be the tremendously popular Tented Trade Village with demand necessitating all marquees this year to be the large type, introduced for the first time for a portion of the indoor exhibition on a trial basis last year.
Already the Food Fayre looks like it will be extended this year with Good Food Ireland, Bord Bia and an array of artisan food producers showcasing their wares. The Forestry Village will feature the Husqvarna Pole Climbing, Advisory Authorities and many of the services associated with this sector.
A number of new and exciting initiatives in the agricultural machinery sector are at the planning stage and will add an interesting dimension to the arena which will see the welcome return to its innovations arena also.
In the ploughing stakes a particularly strong programme has attracted entries from all around the country and Northern Ireland bringing the number preparing to plough in Laois to 330 over the three days.
Exhibition space is at a premium at this stage with the NPA site team starting to mark out the trade arena from early August, this is expected to exceed the size of the 2012 championships.
Launching the brochure for the 82nd National Ploughing Championships to be held at Ratheniska, Co Laois 24-26 September were from left: David Carter, land owner; Anna May McHugh, NPA MD; James Sutton, NPA chairman and Sean Farrell, Head of Agriculture, Bank of Ireland. Picture: Alf Harvey