28 June 2002

Bags of enthusiasm for event with something for everyone

As farming in the north-east struggles to contend with the

aftermath of foot-and-mouth, and low arable prices, we

celebrate the regions traditional farming showcase, the

Great Yorkshire Show. Our four page preview profiles the

event highlights and the economics of farming in the

region. Written by Wendy Short. Edited by Mike Stones

A SHOW that reflects practical farming, informs the public, particularly schoolchildren, and provides a good day out.

Those are event chief executive, Nigel Pullings, aims for the Great Yorkshire Show.

Mr Pulling joined the Yorkshire Agricultural Society in March 2001 as head of finance and took over as chief executive a month later. A qualified chartered accountant, he keeps a close eye on the societys finances. "The YAS has a turnover of £3m and employs 50 staff so it is a large business in its own right," he says.

"The show contributes towards half of that turnover, but last year was the worst in our financial history. Cancelling the event cost almost £1m and problems in the stock market affected the YAS share portfolio. Luckily, past trustees ensured the society had a sound financial base and we were able to withstand the losses."

After last years cancellation, everyone is full of enthusiasm for this years event, the 144th show, says Mr Pulling. A key feature will be a Hotspot trail designed to help children make the most of their visit.

"Several thousand children normally attend and we have put together a map which encourages them to visit about eight areas of the showground," says Mr Pulling.

"At each hotspot, someone will be on hand to answer their questions and explain more about the exhibits. We want to show children what happens to food before it arrives on their plates."

Developing that theme, there will also be a stand headed "Everything you ever wanted to know about potatoes". This is intended to show children how crisps and chips are produced.

A royal visit is also to be part of this years show. The Duke of York is expected to tour the showground on July 10.

The cancellation of last years show was disappointing, but Mr Pulling says the society made the right decision. "It was too big a risk to take. Even without livestock, there were doubts as to whether we should bring people from the rural community together, whatever precautions we might have taken."

This year, stringent biosecurity precautions will allow a full range of livestock to attend the event. Visitors will be asked to walk across disinfectant mats before entering the livestock section and stock will be confined to designated areas. Exhibitors of cloven-hoofed livestock will have the wheel arches of their vehicles sprayed on entering and leaving the showground.

"Exhibitors will have to quarantine their stock on returning home or comply with the 20-day livestock movement rule," says Mr Pulling.

Nearly all stock classes have more than half the amount of animals entered in 2000. And a wide range of exhibitors have booked to attend the event. "It is a good achievement considering the terrible effects of foot-and-mouth disease in the north," says Mr Pulling.

GREATYORKSHIRE SHOW

&#8226 Where? Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorks.

&#8226 When? Tue, July 9 to Thur, July 11.

&#8226 How much? Adults £12 with children aged 5-15 charged £6 a head. Over 60s £9.

&#8226 Discounts available on tickets booked in advance and car parking is free.

&#8226 More details? Phone 01423-541222 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.