‘Signals suggest another great Ploughing is on the way’

Signals would suggest that another “great ploughing” is on the way, according to the Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association, Anna May McHugh.

McHugh was speaking at the launch of this year’s 3-day event – which will get underway on Tuesday, September 19 – on the Screggan site in Tullamore, Co. Offaly this morning.

Media and special guests were entertained by local performers at the launch. They were also graced with the presence of the the now famous identical quadruplet calves which were born in Co. Clare earlier this year.

Those in attendance were also offered a sneak peak of the site build, horses and hounds from the hunt chase, a glimpse of the highly anticipated fashion shows and a taste of the entertainment programme for this year’s event.

The Ploughing Championships not only provides a national stage for showcasing all things agricultural, but it also brings together people from all sectors of Irish society – both rural and urban – to enjoy three days immersed in country living, McHugh explained.

“It is great to see the phenomenal interest in the Ploughing Championships – with countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, New Zealand, France and the Netherlands exhibiting.

“Also the number of overseas buyers coming to the ploughing has doubled, with buyers and visitors from Italy, Hungary, Australia, Prague, South Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, India, Poland, China and Russia.

With record crowds of 283,000 visitors in attendance last year and the site in Screggan proving to be a phenomenal success, signals would suggest another ‘great ploughing’ is on the way.

Meanwhile, the NPA’s Managing Director also commended An Garda Siochana on the traffic plan and she asked the public to travel with care and follow the plan provided.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, was also in attendance at this morning’s launch.

“It is with great delight that I am here today to launch this year’s National Ploughing Championships. This is the pinnacle event in the farming calendar and a wonderful celebration of agriculture and rural life,” he said.

Exhibits and initiatives

This year will see the return of the Machinery Demonstration Area, the inaugural Harry Fergusson Macra Tractor Driver Safety Award and the biggest indoor Innovation Arena built at any Irish event.

An array of new exhibitors, alongside hundreds of veteran companies, will be showcasing their products and services.

People visiting the Ploughing – one of Europe’s largest outdoor events – will also get to see: the latest models in agricultural machinery; quality livestock; a Forestry Village; Food Fayre; a Local Enterprise Village with exhibitors from all over Ireland; as well as an International Business Centre.

The National Brown Baking Final, Foroige Young Cooks Final, Crafts, Pig Agility, topical seminars and lots of other special events are also scheduled to take place over the course of the 3-day event.

In the ploughing stakes, over 350 competitors are preparing to showcase the art of ploughing on Offaly soil, with many competitors returning to challenge or defend a title.