Archive Article: 2000/05/12

12 May 2000




NEARLY a million people visited the ASDA Food and Farming Festival in Londons Hyde Park. Many later said the event had improved their view of agriculture.

"Farmers and the Public can be Friends," declared a farmers weekly leader column.

"For too long," it went on, "farming has been the butt of food-scare stories and ill-informed attacks." But little did we know then, of course, about the devastating food-scare stories and ill-informed attacks that the 1990s would bring.

Glorious weather, meanwhile, helped West County folk enjoy the last-ever Devon County show at the Whipton site, before its move to the purpose-built showground at Clyst St Mary.

Dairy stock was the centre of attention elsewhere. Joylan Miss America 9th was sold for a post-milk quota record price of 24,000gns, when Lancashire breeder Alan Swale reduced his famous Joylan herd.

A hard-hitting report from Manchester University made "frightening" reading, concluding that family-type farms can stay in business only by subsidising traditional activities from private sources.

More than 6500 young farmers returned home – tired and hungover – from Blackpool and the annual Young Farmers Clubs convention. But the future of the movement was the subject of fierce debate.

"Unless the YFC movement finds itself a definite and purposeful identity it will face a very uncertain future," Helen Webb of Rugeley Staffs wrote. "It can hardly blame the general public for sometimes giving it an unfavourable image when the members themselves are unsure of their role in todays society."

A guest speaker was Radio 1 DJ Simon Bates. Thankfully the "Our Song" slot didnt feature in his address!


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