RABI – Focused and forward looking

RABI – Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, the farming charity, held its agm this week in Oxfordshire.


Attended by people from all over, the United Kingdom – it’s a good chance for committee members to glean fundraising ideas from their counterparts from other areas.


Keynote speaker David Fursdon, President of the Country Land and Business Association, told the audience that RABI is a shining beacon and an example to other organisations. It is well focused and gets on with the job of helping its beneficiaries with little fuss; he said that inventing projects is not the best way to go forward.


Although farming is in a soul-searching period he feels that farmers must get away from the victim mentality and it was agreed by everyone that they would like to stand on their own two feet.


The pace of change in communications with e-mail and mobile phones has been phenomenal but the agriculture industry relies on things invented years ago. It is important that new schemes are developed to get young people into farming – just because you come from a farming family does not mean you are the best person to take over the farm.


He spoke of a 20-year-old old tenant farmer who took some cows into Toxteth, Liverpool with a portable milking machine to demonstrate to children where milk comes from. At first he was shouted at and had things thrown at him but by the end of his time there several of the youngsters were helping with the animal care.


Meurig Raymond, Trustee from Pembrokeshire, gave the vote of thanks for a positive upbeat message before handing over to Lorna Tyson to read out prize-winners.


The Dennis Brown Shield was received by Shirley Percy of North Yorkshire on behalf of the Cooking Canons for their creative idea for fundraising and publicity, the Dennis Brown Shield went to the Kent committee for raising £48,000 in 2006.


The Sam Taylor cup went to Norfolk for outstanding performance with the organisation of a Show Ball. The Bryn Davies Bowl was taken back to North Wales to the committee who are busy arranging this year’s concert in Rhyl at the end of October.


David Chantler from Kent received the RABI cup for innovation, initiative and effort. The new Hunter Farm Challenge Cup was presented by Mr Andrew Hunter to Andrew Schwier for the most challenging event organised a shoot that raised £7000.


There are five additional Trustee Awards each year for recognition for those who go that extra mile – all worthy winners, nominations should be sent to regional offices.


Julian Sayers gave quick resume of the day’s events without the benefit of his laptop computer as the battery was flat so maybe that’s why farmers like to stick to the old inventions to do their work!


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