Farming show goes digital in face of coronavirus lockdown

Online Agshow flyer

The OnlineAgShow flyer has been created by Tilly Gomer-Walker, 12, from Berkshire

Rural communities disappointed by the cancellation of farming shows due to coronavirus will still be able to experience the fun of the fair from their homes – by joining the first online agricultural show.

The free one-day event takes place on Saturday (2 May) and will feature the farming competitions, debates, innovations and demonstrations that are usually commonplace at shows across the country during the summer.

The Greatest Online Agricultural Show has been organised by estate manager David Hill, with support from the company Innovation for Agriculture.

See also: Farm events rescheduled due to coronavirus

Gates open online at 9am and the show will include a main area streaming video displays, as well as a livestock arena and areas hosting debates on the future of farming and land management, and showcasing the latest technology in the industry.

This will be supported by activities on the show’s twitter page. Demonstrations include sheep-dog trials and hedge laying.

Visitors need to register before the show.

There will be an area for young farmers, sponsored by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, as well as an education zone, featuring learning resources for teaching during the lockdown.

‘Blown away’ by support

Mr Hill said: “I had an idea on the way into work one morning, there is no reason why some of the fun of shows couldn’t be run online.

“I set up a Twitter account and followers started streaming in, within 24 hours, I had more than 1,000 followers. I realised just how much enthusiasm there was for this idea, so I decided that I would make it happen. I was blown away by the offers of support”.

The show has chosen five rural charities to support: the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Farming Community Network, You Are Not Alone, The DPJ Foundation, and Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

Businesses and rural organisations are involved in hosting areas of the show and trade stands, and will make donations to the charities.

Andrew Lazenby, chief executive of Innovation for Agriculture, helped set up the website with design company Altido.

He said: “This has been a particularly difficult time for them, as not only have we set them an impossibly tight deadline, but they have also tragically lost a much-loved team member to the coronavirus during these last few weeks.

“A sharp reminder that behind all the fun of our show, we must all stay at home.”

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