Category: News

Annual lecture gives food for thought whilst feeding Britain

Annual lecture gives food for thought whilst feeding Britain

Hot debate grabbed the attention of the guests at last night’s East of England Shuttleworth Lecture when well known and respected guest speaker Sir Peter Kendall took to the mic.

The annual lecture organised by the East of England Agricultural Society was well attended by over 100 farmers, students and associated guests alike.

Titled “Feeding Britain” Peter focused on the future of farming and highlighted what the global challenges that will have an impact on food systems. Other key points delivered were that now is not the time to be creating an agricultural policy that is heavily reliant on imports.

He also mentioned that it’s not all down to the government to make the changes but for farmers as an industry to figure out how much they need to do. This point emphasised more onto the individual and encouraged collaboration through one central body who we can listen to and trust.

Introduced by lecture Chairman and East of England Agricultural Society member Andrew Davies, Peter was welcomed backed to the Shuttleworth Lecture as being the only guest speaker to return for a second talk, the first being back in 2010.

“It was great to have such a well-respected and trusted voice as a guest speaker, the evening was full of great debate and information, which I hope people will take away and make use for the future,” says William Haire East of England Agricultural Society’s, Agricultural Development Manager.

Thank you to Shuttleworth College for hosting the annual lecture and for all the people involved in organising this event.

A video of the evening will be available soon

For more information on the Shuttleworth Lecture please contact Ruth Trolove at the East of England Agricultural Society on or call 01733 234451

Open Baking Competition at the Autumn Show

Open Baking Competition at the Autumn Show

With the return of the Great British Bake off to our television screens this evening, we hope you will be feeling inspired to enter the WI Open Baking Competition that is taking place at this years Autumn Food & Country Fair on the 8th October.

We have classes for;

  1. Cheese Scones
  2. Artisan Bread
  3. Classic Victoria Sandwich
  4. Decorated Biscuits – 12 Years and Under

Visit the website below for the complete schedule and entry form.

WI Open Baking Competition

Don’t miss out on the BEST Farming Conference in the East of England

Don’t miss out on the BEST Farming Conference in the East of England


7th August 2017

Grow or Go! Farmers to get 2020 vision at East of England Conference

Options for farmers to future proof and grow their businesses will be the focus of this year’s East of England Farming Conference, which takes place on 2 November 2017 at the East of England Showground. Entitled ‘Grow or Go’, the conference organised by the East of England Agricultural Society, now in its third year, will present novel farming approaches and ideas to encourage resourcefulness in British farming.

Thomas Beazley, Chairman of the East of England Agricultural Society, says the conference aims to provide delegates with practical and thought-provoking ideas in three distinct sessions: science, people and politics; case studies of ‘farmers with flair’; and building the British brand. He comments: “We are passionate about offering farmers in the East inspiration to drive their businesses forward in a sustainable way, ensuring our farming industry is fit and healthy in 2020 and beyond.”

Richard Whitlock, chairman of the conference organising committee, will chair the first session. Speakers will debate science, people and politics, post 2020, and include NFU deputy president, Minette Batters and policy director of the Soil Association, Lord Melchett. Richard says: “On the political front, we are living through challenging and uncertain times, with increasing requirements for farmers to demonstrate environmental benefits alongside food production. Farmers will have to be at the top of their game across the board, there is no room for second best in any sector.” 

Tom Martin, a mixed farmer from Haddon, Cambridgeshire who recently started his Village Farm business after leaving a city job, will chair session two, involving five ‘farmers with flair’. The speakers include: Emily Norton, Farmers Weekly’s Mixed Farmer of the Year 2017 finalist; Alec Mercer of Packington Free Range; Jack Stilwell of ‘Get Jack Farming’, Matt Sharp of The Rising Sun Farm, and Tom Wright of Spring Farm Systems. These entrepreneurs have turned the perception of farming on its head. The session will demonstrate how important it is to be resourceful and think ‘outside of the box’.   Emily Norton says: “Farmers need to think beyond subsidies, the status quo is over. We need to embrace change and realise the opportunities it presents, particularly in the way we finance our businesses. Securing external sources of funding and investment will be important if farmers are able to profit from innovation in the future.”

Building the British Brand is the focus for the third session, chaired by Tom Bradshaw, where delegates will hear from experts across the agricultural industry on how farmers can mitigate or remove barriers to growth. Director of the Free Range Dairy Network, and session speaker, Neil Darwent thinks Brexit is a good place to start. Neil says: “Brexit will present one of the most challenging times ever known in British farming. Farmers need to be prepared for the changing landscape and what it will bring. We must explore every opportunity to ensure farming thrives when we leave EU. “I will be urging farmers to identify the opportunities that changing demand will bring and to promote a future farming industry that is founded on market requirements, rather than being production driven.”

Tickets to the East of England Farming Conference 2017 are available to purchase from Eventbrite. Students and Society members can apply for discounted tickets by contacting the organisers via the website.

Conference sponsors include: Anglia Farmers, British Sugar, Brown and Co., Camgrain, Churchgates, HSBC, Land Family Business, Roythornes, and Syngenta.

More information

William Haire, East of England Agricultural Society

Tel: 01733 234451, email:

Issued by:

Rebecca Dawson, Hornbeam

Tel: 07711 915927, email:

Festival of Hunting Press Release

Festival of Hunting Press Release

Festival of Hunting

On Wednesday 19th July an enthusiastic crowd of over 7500 hunting and countryside supporters attended The Festival of Hunting at The East of England Showground, with festival organisers recording that there was a 25% increase in attendees compared to last year.
Jeremy Staples, Secretary of The Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show Society , commented that “the organisers were delighted with this year’s event and this fantastic increase in the number of visitors reflects the positive interest in traditional country activities.”
This year’s festival encompassed the 129th running of the Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show and is widely renowned as being the most important event in the world for foxhound breeding.
The event was blessed with good weather and there were fantastic results across the well supported classes for Harriers, Beagles, Bassett Hounds, Drag Hounds, Fell and Stag Hounds, Terriers and Coursing Dogs as well as a thrilling Inter-Hunt relay and a range of equine showing classes.
Key highlights of the day included the inaugural Festival of Hunting Horn Blowing competition sponsored by Lycetts which was won by Nicholas Map. The competition was open to entry for all guests, bar professional Hunt Staff, and the winner received an engraved hunting horn, donated by The Hunting Shop, to commemorate the occasion. The Festival of Hunting was delighted to welcome for the first time, fashionistas Martha Sitwell, hunting heroine and ex-model, Margo Stilley, actress and model and stylist Sarah Byrne who were the guest judges for the festival’s ‘Best Dressed Lady’ which was won by Scarlett Goodall. The Best Dressed Lady was sponsored by Fairfax and Favor, Frimble, County Equestrian Jewellers, Butler Stewart and Teddy Edward, who donated a selection of fantastic prizes for the winner on the day along with an exclusive gift donated by Alice Naylor-Leyland, Vogue Contributor.
Insurance and financial services group Lycetts were the headline sponsor for the 2017 festival which was the second of their three-year partnership with the festival and they hosted a generous drinks reception in the evening at the site which was attended by guests from throughout the hunting community where the very competitive horn-blowing competition provided a fitting round up to the day.
Following their second year of sponsorship, Lycetts Chief Executive, Angus Keate commented; “It is a privilege for those who follow hounds to cross land owned by farmers and landowners and
likewise Lycetts is privileged to be associated with an event that is so clearly thriving and which has become such a key part of the Summer calendar for so many of our clients and contacts, we look forward to being part of this again next year.”

For further information please contact

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

Upcoming Events

all-day Bedfordshire Young Farmers Rally @ Scald End Farm
Bedfordshire Young Farmers Rally @ Scald End Farm
May 19 all-day
The East of England Agricultural Society is proud to sponsor the Bedfordshire Young Farmers Rally, hosted by Bedford & District YFC. For more information about Bedford Young Farmers, click here
9:00 am Northamptonshire Young Farmers R... @ Ashby Furze Farm
Northamptonshire Young Farmers R... @ Ashby Furze Farm
May 26 @ 9:00 am
The East of England Agricultural Society is proud to sponsor the Northamptonshire Young Farmers Rally, hosted by Grendon YFC. For more information about Northampton Young Farmers, click here