Year: 2017

Equifest 2017

Equifest 2017


9th-13th August

Equifest celebrates its 10th year in 2017.  The show has grown over the last 10 years and now over 10 000 riders and visitors from across the UK visit the show, held at the East of England Showground.

With various attractions, shops and entertainment running alongside the extensive competition schedule it is easy to see why people enjoy visiting and competing at equifest so much.

Members of the public can pay £10 for a car pass which will cover you for all show days (Wednesday and Sunday are free). Members of the East of England Agricultural Society are able to get in for free upon presentation of a valid East of England Agricultural Society membership card.

For more information please visit

Free Entry for Members!

Free Entry for Members!

Just Dogs Live- 7th, 8th & 9th July

Festival of Hunting- 19th July

Free entry to the above events for members with a valid East of England Agricultural Society Membership Card. Please note this is the green card, not the membership badges pictures above (although you are more that welcome to wear your badge!)

Any questions or lost your card? Please contact our Membership team on 01733 234451 press 3 for Membership

7000 Children Visit Kids Country Food & Farming Day

7000 Children Visit Kids Country Food & Farming Day

   Date: 23 June 2017                                                                            

Farming event for thousands of children aims to push industry to political forefront

An interactive food and farming event is set to give 7000 children a definitive understanding of how farmers produce their food, and the journey from field to plate.

The Kids Country Food and Farming Day, organised by the East of England Agricultural Society and sponsored by the Central England Co-operative, is to be held at the East of England Showground in Peterborough on 30 June.

Organisers say the event has a very important role to play especially after the recent publication of British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) research that showed a worrying number of children thought pasta came from animals, dairy cows produced eggs, and bacon originated from cows, chickens, or sheep.

Sandra Lauridsen, Kids Country Education Manager, said: “The Kids Country Food and Farming Day is important because it educates children, and their families, so they know how farmers produce their food and the journey from field to plate.

“The BNF research just goes to show the amount of work that needs to be done to ensure children not only have a full and rounded view of what is in their food, but to know where it comes from and how it is produced.

“Farming plays a vital role in everyone’s lives and needs to be supported and maintained. It’s crucial everyone understands how it works, its high standards, and the pride farmers have in the food they produce. We want children to feel empowered and able to make informed choices about what they eat, in terms of healthy eating and the impact on British farming.

“With the support of the Central England Co-operative, the Food and Farming Day gives is the chance to educate thousands of children and encourage them to talk to their families about food and the choices they make, and play a major part in growing public support for our industry.

“With important political discussions underway regarding Brexit, having the public’s support and insistence that farming is positioned at the forefront of talks is invaluable.”

This year’s event is set to be attended by schools from Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and London, and will feature 309 exhibitors from 85 companies offering various activities across 14 learning zones.

It is backed by Baroness Byford, a member of the House of Lords who served as Opposition Parliamentary Spokesman for Food, Farming and Rural Affairs from 1997 to 2007. She said: “The event gives children the opportunity to see how their food is produced – for many it will be the first opportunity to hear about the process food goes through and of the variety of skills involved along the way.

“The day will be fun, full of surprises, but will also encourage them to think about job opportunities. Whether they love animals and would like to work with them or look to the excitement of engineering and future technologies, or whether scientific experiments and research might appeal or the challenge of diversity within land-based businesses, there is clearly so much to offer.”

Speaking about the support from Central England Co-operative, Karen Ball, Member and Community Relations Officer, said: “The Co-operative has a long tradition of giving back to the community, and we welcome the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives and education of local children.

“We look forward to building on our successful partnership with Kids Country, and bringing a greater understanding of food provenance and the countryside to children through the Food and Farming Day.”

Top British athletes Heather Fell and Laura Sugar are backing the event and will be attending. Heather won silver in the women’s modern pentathlon at the 2008 summer Olympics, while Laura is a Paralympic sprinter and won two medals in the 2016 IPC European Athletics Championships. Read their blog here

“Both Heather and Laura are incredible athletes who both understand the importance of choosing to eat food produced to the highest possible standards and by British farmers, as well as how vital it is to have a nutritious, balanced diet,” added Sandra.

For further information about the event visit


To download images of Sandra Lauridsen, athletes Heather Fell and Laura Sugar, and shots from Food and Farming Day 2016, click here.

Media contacts

For further information, images, or interviews, contact:

Martin Betts, Promote Marketing, on 01603 881 928 or 07799 070 380, or email; and

Robert Smyth, Central England Co-operative, on 01543 414140, or email

Notes to Editors

About the East of England Agricultural Society and Kids Country

Kids Country is the education arm of the East of England Agricultural Society. Now in its fifth year, it runs a busy and successful programme to help teach the region’s school children, including those with disabilities, about food, farming and the countryside. As well as the Food and Farming Day, other Kids Country activities include involvement in Breakfast Week, Cub & Beavers Day, Lambing Sunday, and Open Farm Sunday, and events such as Grow Your Own Potatoes and Beetroot, and Happy Chicks Day.

The Agricultural Society also administers the Marshal Papworth Fund, which provides agricultural and horticultural scholarships to help students from developing countries develop practical skills and valuable knowledge to share within their local communities in order to meet future food needs for generations to come.

Kids Country Food and Farming Day 2016 – Testimonials:

  • Teacher from Southfields Primary School, Cambridgeshire: “The children thoroughly enjoyed being able to talk to the local farmers and the other staff at the event. Everybody had time to listen to the children’s questions, and helped them with their understanding … the show has been better and better year on year.”
  • Teacher from Dogsthorpe Infant School, Cambridgeshire: “The pupils really enjoyed being able to get involved in the activities and ask the people on the site questions about their job roles, machinery, etc.”
  • Teacher from Drapers’ Pyrgo Priory School, Essex: “The children have seen and experienced things they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. We are in a deprived suburban area and children are unlikely to go to such an event with their own families.”

About the Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with projected gross sales of £958million for 2016–17. The Society recently celebrated being named Leading Co-operative of the Year 2016 by Co-operatives UK. The Society’s principal areas of activity are food, funeral services, and property.

Central England Co-operative has more than 430 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 17.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:

Online Membership & Tickets

Online Membership & Tickets

Due to updates that are to be made to our membership system, Showbiz. We are having to take down our online membership and ticketing system on the 30/6/2017. Showbiz are hoping to have the updates completed and ready to use for August.

In the meantime if you wish to purchase tickets for events please take a look at our calendar page for individual event details.

To purchase Society membership, please feel free to email us at or call 01733 234451 and we can send you a membership pack via email or post.

Please bear with us while we get this sorted, if in the meantime you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.

01733 234451

Cultiv8 Guest Blog: Cultiv8 visit to Johnsons of Old Hurst by Claire Wright

Cultiv8 Guest Blog: Cultiv8 visit to Johnsons of Old Hurst by Claire Wright

Having been raised on a childhood diet of Crocodile Dundee films I snapped at the chance to visit a crocodile farm for the May Cultiv8 meeting.

Unfortunately my vision of a beautiful, warm, sunny evening didn’t quite come to fruition as we gathered under leaden skies at Church Farm in Old Hurst for the introduction to the farm by Andy Johnson and his sons. The story of how they developed from an ordinary mixed farm into what we see today is a fascinating tale of near disaster and being in the right place at the right time.

We started the tour in the shop, which boasts the largest deli counter in the UK offering a range of butchery products, cooked meats and cheeses to their loyal clientele. The rain had not abated as we clambered aboard Landrovers and trailers for our visit to see the unusual livestock kept on the farm, which is all sold in some shape or form through the farm shop or restaurants.

We started with the herds of red and fallow deer that were happily grazing in an outlying field. It was then off to see the Asian buffalo that provide the family with some management headaches given their enormous strength which makes containing them into winter housing a challenge! Heading back towards the farm yard we nervously headed over to the ostrich enclosure (tales of their rather unpredictable behaviour ringing in our ears, but some of us reassured by the fact they only saw male visitors as a threat!) to get up close and personal with these large birds. I have to be honest I found them more unsettling than I had thought as they crowded round the vehicles to get at the feed, watching us carefully with their beady eyes!

Thoroughly soaked thanks to the unpredictable summer weather it was great to get inside the Crocodile House and dry off in the warmth of their habitat. The crocodiles first arrived at Church Farm to aid in disposing of butchery waste but have since become an attraction in their own right. Using only a stockman’s board Andy happily strolled around the beach, moving their tails out of his way without a second thought and cheerfully telling us all about Cuddles, Kisses & Sherbet not to mention the near misses and injuries he has sustained from their teeth! There are plans afoot to expand the Crocodile House further to eventually house 200 crocodiles rather than the six. This would allow the

We finished our grand tour of the farm in the brand new Steak House. This has been built over two floors in the hope that the popularity of this restaurant as an eatery in the county will really take off. The steak house restaurant has experienced some teething problems with kitchen staff but is now on a stronger footing providing a sophisticated, safari themed place where diners can enjoy produce that truly comes from the farm to their fork.

There is a saw blade hanging in the foyer of the steakhouse with a motto emblazoned on it. This reads ‘The brave may not live forever; but the cautious never live at all’ – this for me sums up the philosophy of the whole farm and is testament to the family having the courage to take advantage of a changing market place and not being scared to try something that others say can’t be done!

Written by Claire Wright, Cultiv8 Committee member and Surveyor for CLA East

You can follow Claire on twitter: @claeastsurveyor 

Northamptonshire Wine and Cheese Evening

Northamptonshire Wine and Cheese Evening

You are cordially invited to join us for the annual Northamptonshire Wine and Cheese evening

Friday 16th June

from 7pm

The Loft Bar, Moulton College

Tickets are £10 and can by purchased online here or by returning this form: Invite & booking form 2017

You need not be a member of the Society to attend, nor do you need to live in Northamptonshire! We look forward to a relaxed social evening and hope you will be able to join us


This event is Kindly sponsored by Camgrain


EoE Smithfield Festival Features on BBC1

EoE Smithfield Festival Features on BBC1


Follow Exhibitor J P Harrison on his journey from Tollerton, N. Yorkshire down to last years East of England Smithfield Festival to compete with his South Devon’s in the calf show on new BBC1 show ‘A1: Britain’s Longest Road’.

The programme follows various people using and working on the A1, with this specific episode featuring the 2016 East of England Smithfield Festival (Now referred to as the Winter Stock Festival).

See how Paul got on at the show by catching up on the iPlayer:

Win 2 tickets to see John Bishop!

Win 2 tickets to see John Bishop!


We are holding a competition to allow one lucky winner the chance to win two tickets to see the comedian John Bishop, on the 22nd November at the East of England Showground.

All you have to do is share and tag us in a photo of you or your furry friend reading the Society News Spring 2017 edition in the most adventurous/amusing place you can think of! You MUST share the image on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and we MUST be tagged.
Each week we will post the best pictures and the final Winner will be selected on Tuesday 31st May.

If you’re not a member of the society, you can join for just £30 and you will receive a Society News in the post in just a few days. Contact

Cultiv8 Join the Fight Against Rural Crime

Cultiv8 Join the Fight Against Rural Crime

For our April meeting we were lucky enough to receive a talk from Stefan Gidlow of Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch and Sergeant Richard Jackson who heads up Cambridgeshire police forces, Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT).

This was a captivating meeting that sparked some well thought questions and comments from the Cultiv8 members and certainly made us think about how we approach rural crime both at home and within our communities.

What you may not realise about the Cambridgeshire County, is that we are very privileged to have schemes such as the Countryside Watch and RCAT, as over the border for example in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, they have fewer resources and less man power committed to combatting rural crime.

Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch are a non-profit organisation who’s bottom line goal is to reduce rural crime within the county. The organisation works closely with a number of organisations like the NFU and CLA as well as local police. Pressure on the police from members within the Countryside Watch helped secure the formation of the RCAT team.

Below are a few tips we picked up at the meeting for protecting your farm:

  • Report everything

Even if it’s just £50 worth of diesel missing from your farm truck, reporting it to Countryside watch or the police can help police establish patterns and build intelligence.

The process of reporting a crime will not affect your insurance, it is down to you to inform your insurers and make claims on reported crimes.

  • Back to basics

Keep everything locked up. Along with fly tipping, trailer theft is on the rise nationally, make sure everything is stored as securely as can be. If you buy second hand it is always worth contacting the manufacturer to see if they have a database to register your name against the machinery serial number.

Something as simple as a 2 concrete filled barrels with an RSJ across the middle can deter Hare coursers, but can be easily moved for access for farming operations.

Nature cameras offer a good alternative to fixed camera systems both in function and price.

  • Keep a Record

Stefan suggested buying an SD card and taking an afternoon to go round your farm and take pictures of your kit and the serial numbers. You can pop this in an envelope in the bottom drawer so that you have something to fall back on should anything go missing. Serial numbers are one of the most useful things to police when tracking stolen objects

  • Fly tipping

There are teams of criminals that will offer you cash to store waste on your farm, possible disguised as bales. They promise to come back and remove it but won’t come back and you will likely be the one footing the bill to have it removed. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

Who to call

999-Crime in progress

101- Reporting a crime

0800 555 111- Cambridgeshire Crime Stoppers (anonymous)

 Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch

Those of you that are based within the Cambridgeshire area, Countryside watch can help both you and your local community. As well as keeping you up to date on what is going on in the area, they can offer advice, tagging events and even some product discounts.

Fenland, Huntingdon & Peterborough- Stefan Gidlow 07890 455959

East and South Cambridgeshire- Ellen Muirhead 07952 735158

Upcoming Events

all-day Equifest @ East of England Showground
Equifest @ East of England Showground
Aug 9 – Aug 13 all-day
Equifest @ East of England Showground
Please see our dedicated event website for more information: There is a £10 parking charge for all cars, members of the East of England Agricultural Society are entitled to Free entry upon presentation of a …

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all-day Autumn Food and Country Fair @ East of England Showground
Autumn Food and Country Fair @ East of England Showground
Oct 8 all-day
Autumn Food and Country Fair @ East of England Showground
For more information on this event please visit the dedicated show website     As a Society, we invite you to visit our stand in the Atrium to find out more about what we do. …

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