Dairy producers will, at last, be able to get out and about to meet colleagues, see new kit and hear from expert speakers, with the welcome news that the Dairy Show will go ahead on October 7.
Following the Government’s recent announcement that business events can recommence this autumn, the Royal Bath & West Society has contacted exhibitors to explain how it plans to meet health and safety guidance.
"Sadly, cattle classes will not be going ahead as we couldn’t manage social distancing in the judging ring and cattle lines,” explained head of shows Alan Lyons.
“But this has made available more internal space which will be filled with trade stands and open walkways.”
Hand sanitiser and face masks will be freely available, and the seminar theatre will move to a more spacious area to allow for social distancing.
This year’s seminar theme will be ‘Breeding the cow of the future’, with expert speakers examining how producers can use pedigree genetics or cross-breeding to produce the optimum cow for their system.
“We already have nearly 200 trade stands booked, and feedback from exhibitors has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Lyons.
“It is such an important industry event, and people are really keen to get out and network, see what’s new, and discuss the latest hot topics with friends and professionals.”
New for 2020
This year is the 40th anniversary of the show, so there will be an extra special buzz, and the event will also host the prestigious British Cheese Awards in place of the cancelled Royal Bath & West Show.
“It will be one of the only cheese competitions to run in 2020, and winners will be announced on the eve of the show.
"It will be a lovely opportunity for dairy producers who supply on a cheese contract to see the end result of their labours and enjoy the recognition that prize winners receive.”
A new element this year will be a drop-in mental health stand run in conjunction with the Young Farmers’ Clubs.
“Farming is tough at the best of times, and it’s even tougher now that people haven’t been able to get out and meet family and friends,” said Lyons.
“As a society, we helped to produce a fold-out [leaflet] on mental health with Somerset Mental Health Agriculture Group and to give young farmers mental health first aid training.
"Our informal farmhouse kitchen stand will enable visitors to drop in and discuss how they can identify whether friends and family are struggling and how they can help before it becomes a serious issue,” he added.
“We are really looking forward to opening our doors on October 7 and enabling farmers and exhibitors to catch up with the latest news, advice and equipment face-to-face after so long in lockdown, and encourage everyone to buy their tickets in advance.”