The Minister sees a bright future for agricultural fairs

The first of these is the establishment of mechanisms to generate greater cohesion and cooperation between the different events.

“A second result will be that of identifying opportunities for DAERA to support agricultural fairs in a more strategic way”, explained the Minister.

Edwin Poots made the comments while attending the Ballymoney Show last Saturday.

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The minister has appointed Aled Rhys Jones to lead a review of the resilience of NI agricultural shows.

The independent review, which will define challenges and opportunities for the entertainment sector and explore future options for support, is underway and expected to be completed by the end of the summer.

Jones was recently appointed as the new chief executive of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.

The Northern Ireland Shows Association (NISA) welcomed the announcement of the review.

NISA President Graham Furey also attended this year’s Ballmoney Show.

He said, “NISA will fully participate in the review process. Obviously, it is important that everything be done to ensure the future of our agricultural fairs.

“It would also be appropriate for Aled Rhys Jones to travel to Northern Ireland over the next few weeks to get a real feel for what is happening here on the ground.”

Meanwhile, Edwin Poots has announced an extension to the closing date of his £200,000 rebound support scheme for local agricultural shows.

He confirmed that the application deadline will be extended by four weeks until June 30.

Reflecting on the success of last weekend’s Ballymoney and Lurgan shows, he said: “It was fantastic to visit two of our very popular agricultural shows and meet farmers, food producers and visitors.

“Such shows are essential to supporting our rural communities as well as boosting tourism and the local economy.

“Like many similar key agricultural shows they have been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic meaning they have lost the opportunity to raise funds so I am delighted we have been able to extend the date. closing date of the £200,000 Bounceback Program and I encourage organizers to submit their applications and relevant documents as soon as possible.

Minister Poots concluded: “It was great to see the shows today buzzing with excitement as well as showcasing our great local produce and livestock and I look forward to visiting many more at the over the coming weeks and months – all key events of the year.”

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