15 May 1998

BIG WELCOME TO THE WEST

YOU can be assured of a warm welcome at the Royal Bath and West of England Show to be held at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, between Wed, May 27 and Sat, May 30. The show is run by the Royal Bath and West of England Society, which was formed in 1777 and is well known as an organisation which creates quality agricultural events with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

In common with many other agricultural societies, the Royal Bath and West was established to support the rural economy in general, and agriculture in particular, at a time when there were few champions for those who lived in the country. In many ways, this role is as important now, if not more so, than it was 221 years ago.

The society has done a great deal in recent years to build and increase the agricultural content of its annual show. Not only is it an event where town and country meet, it is also a shop window for the outstanding stock and produce of the south-west, particularly from the dairy sector.

Judging the shows 1000 cattle has been moved recently from the edge of the showground into the Unigate ring in the heart of the show, where visitors can see and, indeed, smell the activities of the farm.

The Lloyds Bank Farming Conference Centre, will attract the best-known experts in agriculture and is enriched this year, with a debate organised by Country Life entitled "Do we need farmers?"

Another important feature is our British Farming For the Family exhibit, which is aimed at the public, and unashamedly promotes the best of British agriculture, and demonstrates elements of the food chain.

New this year is a feature called Farming For the Future which has been created on three acres of the showground in conjunction with the Soil Association and Long Ashton Research Station. The area will demonstrate less intensive farming methods. This is an important area to visit, with several money-saving ideas and suggestions for increasing the margins of farming enterprises.

In the centre of the area will be a Farmers Advice Bureau which will include Farmers Weeklys on-line information service, Farmers Weekly Interactive. You will also be able to seek advice from solicitors, financiers and experts in land drainage and management – all free!

We welcome back the Tesco National Spring Lamb competition for its second year and, of course, the most wonderful display of sheep, pigs, beef, cattle, dairy cattle, sheep shearing and acres of machinery. So whatever your role in our agricultural industry, the Royal Bath and West of England Show is a must.

The agricultural content is complemented by 1000 commercial exhibitors, numerous special features, the new Equine Centre, and many activities from clay pigeon shooting, at one end of the showground, to our country pursuits demonstrations, on the edge of the lake at the other, which includes the Country Living marquee.

This of course will be complemented with the buzz and excitement of the main ring. There will be pole climbing, the White Helmet Motorcyclists, the Red Devils free-fall parachutists, heavy horses, military bands, show jumping and many other activities, including the grand parade of stock on the Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Although this months Royal Bath and West Show is the focal point of the societys activities, throughout the year we organise a number of key events focusing on practical farming. They include the South West Dairy Show, Beef and Sheep South West and Grassland South West.

Youll find more details of these at the Royal Bath and West of England Show where you will receive a warm welcome. We look forward to meeting you.

Simon Firth, Chief Executive

Royal Bath & West of England Society