The Royal Agricultural Society of England has launched an extensive online industry survey as part of a wide-reaching consultation process.

The survey seeks to gauge the needs of the sector and assist the society in its planning of future activities especially in terms of its facilitation and communications strategy.

A primary aim is to identify in what ways the Royal Show, technical events and other communications vehicles organised by the RASE might best develop in relation to these needs.

The sector is facing major change and it is important that the society not only keeps pace but is pro-active in working with its sector.

“Over the last 18 months, the society has put all its work and operation under the microscope,” said John Moverley, chief executive of the society.

“Arising from that, it has refreshed and added to its activities. Some good examples are its much-increased programme of regional activity, the launch of our college farm initiative [in association with Farmers Weekly] and our central role in the establishment and plans for the Food and Farming Year.

“The core of the society lies in a commitment to science and practice, encouraging innovation, demonstrating good and best practice, promoting scientific advance, linking with education and the social aspects of rural life and providing an independent voice for farming and the rural sector.”

The society organises a range of integrated communications for members and the wider agricultural and rural sector. These include the Royal Show; specialist technical events for pig, poultry and grassland farmers; regional seminars and farm visits; the RASE Journal and its popular quarterly magazine Rural Matters.

The society is also launching a new event in 2008, The Countryside and Food Fair which aims to help the public better understand food, farming and the countryside.

“The on-line survey will remain open until June 6 and we hope some of the findings will be available at this year’s Royal Show,” said Professor Moverley.

The online survey comprises two questionnaires – one for farmers and one for the rest of the food chain – and can be found on its website, www.rase.org.uk