But has it out­grown its roots?

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE -

Some get the at­tire cor­rect and blend in, oth­ers stick out like a sore thumb.

I of­ten won­der what im­pres­sion em­anates from the Plough­ing of the farm­ing com­mu­nity and agri­cul­ture in gen­eral? It is cer­tainly a great plat­form to show­case our in­dus­try.

Ex­hibitors & vol­un­teers

The for­got­ten at­ten­dees at the plough­ing are the ex­hibitors and vol­un­teers. Any­body who has manned a stand for a few days at the Plough­ing knows it cer­tainly is not fun, it is sim­ply hard work. The lo­gis­tics and cost of erect­ing a stand are not for the faint-hearted, es­pe­cially those who are not sell­ing.

The sheer vol­ume of peo­ple at the event chal­lenges the peo­ple skills of all on stands.

The army of NPA vol­un­teers give gen­er­ously of their time and are a vi­tal cog to the run­ning of the event.

Ev­ery event has a life-span and some would say the Plough­ing has peaked in its present for­mat.

The NPA quoted at­ten­dance num­bers have dropped from 291,500 in 2017 to 240,700 this year, so per­haps this is cor­rect.

The event is a great op­por­tu­nity to show­case the best our in­dus­try has to of­fer but do we make the best use of this op­por­tu­nity, and if not, what should we do?

An idea would be for the in­dus­try to come to­gether to make a show­case of Ir­ish agri­cul­ture and food the cen­tre -piece ex­hibit of the Plough­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Look at the ex­trav­a­gant pro­duc­tion shows be­fore big sport­ing oc­ca­sions. We see what a dif­fer­ence theatre groups can make to the en­ter­tain­ment value of the St Pa­trick’s pa­rade or New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tions.

An an­nual themed mes­sage would pro­vide a new fo­cus and take the pres­sure off some of the weary ex­hibitors.

The stand and ex­hibits could be the en­tourage in­stead of be­ing the cen­tre­piece.

It could be a win, win so­lu­tion for the NPA and the in­dus­try and could take this great event to an even higher level.

EV­ERY EVENT HAS ITS LIFE-SPAN AND SOME WOULD SAY THE PLOUGH­ING HAS PEAKED IN ITS PRESENT FOR­MAT

Mike Brady is man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Brady Group agri­cul­tural con­sul­tants & land agents, email: mike@brady­group.ie.

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