Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has highlighted the economic and social importance of Orkney’s agricultural shows during a debate in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
Following on from another successful Royal Highland Show at Ingleston in Edinburgh last week, Mr McArthur drew attention to the fact that Orkney plays host to six separate agricultural shows in little over a week at the start of August each year. He claimed that this underscored the importance of the shows to Orkney’s farming community, and in turn the importance of farming to the wider Orkney community.
He put forth the point that Agriculture Shows in Orkney are not only of massive economic importance, but “play a crucial social role as well - attract locals, former residents and new visitors as well as provide a gathering place that helps build the sense of community”.
Commenting after the debate, Mr McArthur said:
“As well as their importance to the local economy, I am always struck by the role our agricultural and industrial shows play in bringing people together. They are genuinely social occasions, allowing locals, ‘former locals’ and visitors alike to meet and catch up. This is all the more important at a time farming can be a more solitary business.
“The shows also reflect our rich farming heritage. From the Festival of the Horse to our museums at Corrigal Farm, Kirkbister and The Smiddy, we see this recognised, celebrated and shared in Orkney to the benefit again of both the local community and visitors.
“Today’s debate also provided an opportunity to pay tribute to the contribution made by young farmers groups across the country. In Orkney, it has been good to see how strong and active the movement is.
“As well as developing skills and organising social events, young farmers help sustain farming customs but also bring in new ideas. This is essential if farming is to have not just a proud past but a bright future. It was therefore, particularly pleasing to see Kerry Annal from South Ronaldsay being presented with the Young Livestock Ambassador award at the Royal Highland Show last week in recognition of her enthusiasm and commitment to the industry.
“For my part, I am looking forward very much to attending the shows again this year. There is no better way of finding out what is really going on across the county.”