This month sees the welcome return of the largest two-day agricultural show in the UK: the Royal Norfolk Show. With a pause of two years, hopes are high for two dry and bright days at the end of this month when in excess of 100,000 people are expected to come through the gates at the Norfolk Showground.

Eastern Daily Press: Tom Corfield, agricultural partner at Arnolds Keys-Irelands AgriculturalTom Corfield, agricultural partner at Arnolds Keys-Irelands Agricultural (Image: Arnolds Keys-Irelands Agricultural)

There are many reasons to love the Royal Norfolk Show. For a start, it’s an opportunity to showcase the best in livestock – from commercial beef to pigs, horses, cattle and poultry.

It’s a chance to see the latest in machinery and new technology while supporting local farmers via the NORMAC stand, which showcases innovation and adaptations to machinery built to overcome a particular problem.

The show is agriculture’s opportunity to demonstrate the value of what it does to the wider world, boosting understanding among the public about where their food comes from and the role farming plays in the stewardship of the countryside.

At a time of food insecurity, it has never been more important for young people to understand the role that farmers play in ensuring there is always food on their plates. Though some schools attend as part of an organised trip, I think that more needs to be done to increase attendance by children over the two days, as it’s not just animals and tractors on offer but also the Discovery Zone which aims to link science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) with food, farming and the countryside.

Above all the show is about celebrating the people who work in the countryside, including with the Long Service Award scheme which recognises those who have worked in the agricultural industry for 40 years or more.

Beyond that, the two days offer plenty of opportunities to stop and have a mardle, catch up, share problems and realise that no matter how bad things might seem, farming remains a tight-knit and supportive community.

I have been a steward at the show for 16 years and my colleague Simon Evans has helped for many more. For those of us who work in the farming industry, the chance to give something back by volunteering at the show is hugely rewarding and there is great camaraderie amongst the stewards.

Now, where did I put that bowler hat…?

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