County Fermanagh Farming Society explores a new way forward

 Tue, 27th Feb, 2024

County Fermanagh Farming Society Ltd have taken a decision that this year’s Fermanagh County Show will not be held in the normal format.

In a statement, the Society stated; “Following a full evaluation of last year’s Show which took place at Castle Irvine Estate, Irvinestown, we considered the numerous issues facing the Society in organising a large-scale community event; including escalating costs of service provision with increases of up to 35% and ensuring adequate insurance cover is in place. There is an increased demand for risk assessments to be carried out for each area of the event as well as the cost of training for volunteer stewards.

“There is also the serious disease status of herds in Fermanagh to be taken into account and many breeders are cautious when exhibiting quality livestock at agricultural shows.

“After much soul searching, we decided that Fermanagh County Show in its usual format is unsustainable and we do not have the voluntary workforce to roll it out. Covid had an adverse effect on the show and there is not the same pool of expertise available to act as stewards as many of the farmers that previously volunteered now work part time off farm.

“One of the biggest sections of the Show, the huge schoolchildren’s section with almost 3,000 entries is going ahead as normal with the judging of Phase 1 taking place after Easter and the children will work on the crafts section until the end of June. This reinforces County Fermanagh Farming Society’s objective of engaging with the younger members of our rural community in agricultural-based disciplines. This showcase of children’s exhibits will be open to the public over the two days of 2 and 3 August with a venue to be confirmed.

“The successful Suckler Cow Classic and Breeding Heifer Derby will be judged on farms as a herds Competition. This will be open to all Fermanagh farmers to encourage efficiency in breeding suckler calves for today’s commercial market. A leading judge will visit farms and shortlist the finalists, video footage will be taken and shown at the autumn prizegiving of the finalists.

“A new initiative this year is to find the top commercial sheep flock in Fermanagh with sheep also being judged on farms across a number of criteria. Further details for these competitions will be released later in Spring 2024.

“The Society’s Directors are working on a five-year plan with particular emphasis on education and agriculture, encouraging school competitions and supporting young farmers involved in farming in the County,” the statement concluded.