Month: July 2016

Press Release: Impressive line-up for 2016 East of England Smithfield Festival

Press Release: Impressive line-up for 2016 East of England Smithfield Festival

25 July 2016

Impressive line-up for 2016 Smithfield Festival

Once again the 2016 Smithfield Festival has attracted the biggest names in the cattle and sheep industry to judge this year’s prestigious event, which will be held at the East of England Showground on the 15 and 16 November 2016.

The Smithfield Festival leads the way in bringing all aspects of livestock management to one event, and showcases the very best of modern day agriculture.

Andrew Mutch, director of Mutch Meats in Oxfordshire, will lead the sheep judging this year and brings a wealth of knowledge in market demands. Andrew offers a unique combination of farming knowledge and market insight, which is crucial to profitable sheep farming and gives him a highly valued place in the judging team.

Commercial cattle will be judged this year by an individual hugely respected in the cattle industry; Gavin Scott, from Gateside Farm, Linlithgow. Gavin brings invaluable experience in cattle judging and livestock production, and will ensure a world class animal takes the prestigious title in 2016.

Also confirmed for the 2016 Smithfield Festival, is Iain Green from the well-known Corskie Simmental herd in Scotland, which has itself seen tremendous success in the show ring. Iain, who will judge the Pedigree Calf Show Interbreed Championship and the Duke of Norfolk Pedigree Calf Group of 3, promises to bring his wealth of cattle and judging knowledge to his role at this year’s event.

“Andrew Mutch, Gavin Scott and Iain Green are fantastic assets to the event team and have enormous experience in judging the best show animals in the UK,” says William Haire, Festival show director.

“The Smithfield Festival continues to evolve as the industry changes,” adds Mr Haire.   “We acknowledge the changing landscape of livestock farming in the UK and farmers have to be closer to the consumer and produce what the market demands.

“This event puts the future needs of livestock farmers first and provides a venue that offers information and tools to ensure the longevity of our industry,” he says.

“We plan to continue with our focus on innovations and technical advancements within the livestock sector, bringing together the industry’s leading representatives to share their views and thoughts on the future,” he concludes. “2016 promises to be an exciting and thought provoking event and one that will benefit anyone wanting to be successful in the livestock industry of the future.”


Notes to editors

For more information please contact or telephone 01733 234 451

Issued by: Rebecca Morgan, Pinstone Communications, e-mail:, t: 01568 617663

Guest contribution: Geoff Dodgson, non-executive trustee at the Society, gives his view on the ‘Kids Country’ education programme

Guest contribution: Geoff Dodgson, non-executive trustee at the Society, gives his view on the ‘Kids Country’ education programme

Having lived my whole life in the countryside, I find it hard to believe how little some people know about what goes on or where food comes from – particularly young children. Luckily, the need to begin education about food, farming and the countryside generally at an early age is being recognised as important.

It matters because the public at large should have an understanding of where food comes from and how our countryside is shaped. It is vital because of the need for people to pursue careers in the food and farming supply chains.


Impressions of careers are formed very early in life, often before early teens; thus the industry needs to begin engaging with future generations early. A challenge that has been recognised by a range of businesses and trade bodies. This has led to a variety of school initiatives and the creation of organisations such as FACE – Farming and Countryside Education – to help teachers educate, and young children learn.

Teaching resources and school gardens are great steps forward, but you cannot beat hands-on experience to understand what the countryside is all about. Practical experience is what the East of England Agricultural Society’s ‘Kids Country’ is all about. A small core of Society staff, supported by dozens and dozens of volunteers deliver a year-round programme of events to let children see, first hand, what the countryside is about.

In January, over 500 school children were given wholesome breakfasts as part of the Society’s support for the national Breakfast Week initiative. In March, the team helped 400 children ‘Grow your own potatoes’. While in May it was real hands on stuff at ‘Happy Chicks Day’ – where children could touch and hold chicks and hens while learning about egg production.

However, the flagship event is the ‘Food and Farming Day’ held this year on 1 July where over 5,500 school children were bussed from all over East Anglia to the Society’s showground in Peterborough. For a whole day they received a real insight into what happens in the countryside.

For a born and bred countryman, it is a real eye opener. Children come who have never stood on grass, let alone stroked a cow, smelt a pig or met a gun dog. The latter being my own input, working with the Cambridgeshire Gundog Club to show our visitors (pupils and teachers alike) different breeds, how they are trained and how they work.


The day works thanks to huge support from a wide range of individuals, clubs and corporate businesses. The Tesco Eat Happy project provided the main sponsorship, Barclays Bank provided dozens of staff, and fresh food businesses like Bartletts and Produce World provided produce. Huge machines loaned by commercial businesses such as New Holland, as well as local farmers, can be seen. Not to mention the ever popular tractor and trailer rides.

This event is now the largest one-day event focused on educating future generations in the UK. Something the Society, sponsors, supporters and volunteers are all rightly proud of.

Hopefully, some of the young visitors will go home and provide some education to mum and dad when next they visit a supermarket. Perhaps they will actually want to go for a trip to the countryside. Or perhaps they will aspire to join the farming, food and countryside industries – the biggest single sector of the UK economy – helping these industries meet the challenge of an ever-increasing global population and its increasing demand for food to eat and countryside to enjoy.

Geoff Dodgson is a non-executive trustee of the East of England Agricultural Society and Senior Consultant at Ware Anthony Rust.

© Ware Anthony Rust Limited

Members Free Entry to Festival of Hunting!

Members Free Entry to Festival of Hunting!

Members of the East of England Agricultural Society are granted free entry to the Festival of Hunting on presentation of a valid Membership card. Members are also encouraged to wear their East of England Agricultural Society Badges to the show.

The Festival of Hunting takes place at the East of England Showground on Wednesday 20th July 2016. The historic and prestigious event is the annual showcase for the world of hunting and boasts the greatest gathering of hounds in the country.

Entry to the show for non-members:

  • Advanced Tickets* (call 01733 363527): £12.50
  • On the day: £15
  • Under 12s: Free

*The deadline for advanced ticked sales is 13th July 2016 at 5pm

For more information about the show, please take a look at the Festival of Hunting website

For any membership queries, please call 01733 363513.

Kids get Hands-on with Pigs, Peas, Poultry and Produce at Food & Farming Day

Kids get Hands-on with Pigs, Peas, Poultry and Produce at Food & Farming Day

5,500 children from over 50 primary schools attended Kids Country Food & Farming Day 2016, the educational food and farming event that showcases the journey from farm to fork. The aim of the event was to teach children about food provenance, and the importance of farming and the countryside through a host of hands-on, interactive activities and exhibitors.

The annual day, organised by the East of England Agricultural Society, saw the East of England Showground transformed into 11 interactive zones. Over 100 leading organisations from across the agricultural sector attended the event, including the sponsor The Tesco Eat Happy Project as well as Weetabix, New Holland, Billingsgate Seafood School, and Albert Bartlett, all of which recognised the importance of educating tomorrow’s consumers. Over 100 volunteers also joined the team to make the event a day to remember.

Children got the chance to grind flour and cook bread rolls, milk goats and cows, take part in demonstration vet surgeries and team up with celebrity chef Rachel Green to make hummus in celebration of the International Year of Pulses. The Tesco Eat Happy Project teamed up with fruit supplier Berry Gardens to showcase the growing story of berries. They supplied 400 punnets of fruit and estimated 4000 strawberries were eaten on the day. There were also extensive displays of farm machinery, and livestock including cattle, sheep, donkeys, poultry, pigs and even ostriches; tractor and trailer rides; and demonstrations including sheep shearing, ferrets, horses and hounds, and gundogs.

Children from Ravensthorpe Primary School in Peterborough commented on the event: “It has been the best day ever!”, “I learnt that you have to grind flour to make bread, and farmers grow wheat in the fields and this goes into my breakfast. I also got to feed the animals and milk a cow!”.

The day included activities aimed at helping children understand the fabric that makes up the countryside, such as hands-on dry stone walling, thatching and willow weaving. In addition, there was the opportunity to explore an African Village, constructed by visiting Marshal Papworth students, which illustrated the differences in farming, food and lifestyle between the UK and African countries.

Commenting on the Food & Farming Event, Sandra Lauridsen, Education Manager at Kids Country, said: “Kids Country Food & Farming Day gives children an opportunity to really understand how the food they eat gets from the field to the fork. It is important we continue to build children’s knowledge of where their food comes from and develop their understanding of, and passion for rural life, farming and agriculture. The feedback we received from children and their teachers who attended the day was overwhelmingly positive.”

The event was sponsored by the Tesco Eat Happy Project, an education programme that is committed to improving children’s relationship with food. Caroline Silke, Head of Community at Tesco commented on their involvement: “Food and Farming Day is fundamental in helping us achieve our vision of giving children a better relationship with food. It goes hand in hand with Tesco’s Eat Happy initiative which is designed to fuel children’s interest in and understanding of where food comes from.”

Members Free Entry to Just Dogs Live!

Members Free Entry to Just Dogs Live!

The East of England Agricultural Society welcome our Members to this year’s Just Dogs Live incorporating the Championship Dog Show which takes place on the 8th, 9th and 10th of July 2016.

Entry for Members is free upon presentation of a valid East of England Agricultural Society Membership Card (These were sent out earlier in the year).

There is a lot to look around at this year’s show including trade stands, flyball, dog agility, seminars, demonstrations and of course the Championship Dog Show itself which is celebrating a record number of entries in 2016. For more detail take a look at the shows website


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Not a member of the Society? For more information including a sign up form, please take a look at the membership page of our website or give us a call on 01733 234451

Upcoming Events

all-day Kids Country- Food & Farming Day @ East of England Showground
Kids Country- Food & Farming Day @ East of England Showground
Jun 29 all-day
Kids Country- Food & Farming Day @ East of England Showground
The Kids Country Food and Farming day brings around 7000 school children onto the site to learn about where their food comes from and how it is made. If you would like to get involved, …

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all-day Just Dogs Live @ East of England Showground
Just Dogs Live @ East of England Showground
Jul 6 – Jul 8 all-day
Just Dogs Live @ East of England Showground
Members are entitled to Free entry to this event upon presentation of a valid membership card at the entrance. For more information about Just Dogs Live- Incorporating the Championship Dog Show, please visit the dedicated …

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