Category: News

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

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 

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

Shuttleworth Lecture 2017

Shuttleworth Lecture 2017


Following a successful reintroduction to the Society calendar last year, the Shuttleworth Lecture returned on the 20th March at Shuttleworth College.

Our guest speaker for the evening was Professor Simon Pearson. Hailing from a farming background, Simon’s current role is head of Agri-food technology at the University of Lincoln, he has travelled the world looking at farming technology and practices and we were lucky enough he could join us to share these experiences.

The topic of the talk was ‘the role of technology in post Brexit agriculture’, and to give you a taste of the evening , Simon drew a number of conclusions at the end of his talk:

  • The impacts of Brexit and the new BAP will be highly significant for the industry.
  • Media coverage with Agriculture tends to draw our attention to the New Zealand way of farming, although there are lessons to be learned from New Zealand, it is not all rosy.
  • Diversification will continue to play a large part in the sustainability of Farm Business’s and Energy has its place too.
  • Technology is emerging and will play a leading role in the future, but in Simons opinion we cannot rely on GM as a means to go forward

We fully embraced modern technology and live streamed the lecture on the Cultiv8 facebook page and you can now watch it on Youtube by clicking here.

Many thanks to Andrew Davies for chairing the lecture and Shuttleworth College for providing the venue.

Jolly Good Evening had by all at the Best of British Ball!

Jolly Good Evening had by all at the Best of British Ball!


The first ever Cultiv8 Ball took place at the East of England Showground on the 18th of February. The theme was Best of British and the Atrium was adorned with Union Flags and decoration.

The decorate your own table competition certainly brightened the room with everything from candelabra’s to Balloons being used, as a center piece. Many thanks to Hey Ho and Co for sponsoring the Prosecco for the winning table. The Competition continued with a particularly intense game of Heads or Tails, it is impressive how a room of 150 people can get so caught up in a game of coin flipping! The proceeds of the Heads and Tails all goes towards helping the Society achieve its charitable goals.

The main course of Roast Rib of Beef went down a treat with our designated carvers looking dashing in their aprons and hats. The dinner was rounded off with a fabulous buffet style cheese table, of which we must thank Arthey Associates and Pode Hole Farm for sponsoring.

With an evening of dancing and many trips to the bar a good night was had by all, and we definitely look forward to  similar events in the future.

The Cultiv8 Committee would also like to thank RAGT, Gleadells and Strutt and Parker for sponsoring the welcome drinks and the Stand In Band for the entertainment throughout the evening (Video below)!

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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