Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill attended the 81st National Ploughing Championships at New Ross, County Wexford.
Raincoats and umbrellas were the order of the day as torrential downpours fell from early morning. The dismal weather however failed to dampen the spirits of the many thousands who turned out for the event.
Minister O’Neill visited the DARD exhibition where she met staff from the Department and AFBI as well as representatives of a wide range of companies from the North.
The Minister said: “These Championships are one of the highlights of the Irish farming calendar, and offer an ideal opportunity for agri-food businesses to demonstrate products and services to a wider audience. Despite today’s unfavourable weather conditions, the mix of events and stands provides a great day out for the huge number of visitors from the agri-food industry and rural community.
“It is a great place to do business, as can be seen by the vast array of trade stands and for mutual collaboration on an all Ireland basis, with over 90 exhibitors this year coming from the north. I am particularly pleased that we have been able to facilitate a number of northern diversification businesses on the DARD exhibition and wish them every success over the duration of the event.”
The DARD exhibition at the event features a number of diversified farming businesses including crafts, engineering technology, services, tourism and food. The display also focuses on the Rural Development Programme which provides business development, mentoring and training for farmers and their families and supports a wide range of projects including farm modernisation, business creation, environment and countryside schemes and diversification.
The Minister added: “In total, five northern ploughmen are taking part across various classes this year and I wish them the best of luck at this year’s event.”