3 July 2000
Royal’s still about farming – RASE

By Isabel Davies

THE chief executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) has dismissed suggestions that the Royal Show no longer has farming at its core.

Speaking on the eve of the show on Sunday (2 July), Charles Runge said: “The Royal Show is still very much a show with agriculture at its heart.”

Mr Runges comments came amid claims that agricultural shows are attempting to stage lucrative rural lifestyle attractions in a bid to ride out the crisis in farming.

A Country Lifestyle area is given a prominent position by RASE for the second year running at the Royal Show, which runs from 3-6 July at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

The lifestyle area is popular. An advert on page 43 of this years show catalogue bills it as an area which “encapsulates all thats best about Britains countryside.”

However, research shows that although farmers enjoy the social side of the show, the main reasons they attend are commercial – and they want it to stay that way.

RASE highlighted what it calls 100 profitable reasons for producers to attend the show after its research showed farmers wanted agriculture at the centre of the event.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown will attend the show on Monday (3 July), the first of 22 ministers – mostly international – expected to pay visits over the four days.

There will also be a royal presence. HRH Princess Alexandra will officially open the event and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh will tour the show on Wednesday (5 July).

Mr Runge also revealed that the NatWest Bank has confirmed that it will continue to sponsor the shows cattle and sheep classes for another five years.

The agreement continues a long-standing partnership and confirms NatWests position as the shows main sponsor, he said.

Brian Montgomery, senior executive at NatWest, said: “The Royal provides British agriculture with the best opportunity to present British livestock to the world.”

He added: “It highlights many of the unique strengths and qualities of an industry with which we are proud to be associated.”