The beginning of February triggers a countdown to the first major event in the agricultural calendar - Mullahead Ploughing Match.
The annual event falls on Saturday, February 25, and returns to the Richardson Estate, Portadown, by kind permission of the Richardson family.
Now in its 102nd year, Mullahead Ploughing Society has secured continued funding for the 2017 match from their headline sponsor, Tesco NI.
United by a common goal to highlight the importance of food and farming to the local economy, Tesco has supported Mullahead for over 17 years and has seen the event grow to become the largest one day event of its kind in the UK with an average visitor number of over seven thousand. 2016 saw the inaugural ‘Tesco School Chef of the Year’ competition which culminates in a Live Cook - Off at Mullahead. This will return for 2017 and offers the opportunity for one secondary school pupil to win £1,000 for their school.
Such has been the success of the Food Tent, Mullahead has also secured sponsorship from Tourism NI under their Northern Ireland Year of Food & Drink initiative which will also see a number of ‘Food Heartland’ artisan producers exhibiting at the match.
Ploughing however remains the main focus of the match and entries are flooding in from all over the UK for both horse and tractor ploughing as well as the popular and ever competitive tractor pulling competition. The Society is delighted to welcome Bank of Ireland as a returning sponsor of the 17th Ulster Horse Ploughing Championships and will also receive continued support from the ABC Council under new Lord Mayor Gareth Keating.
William McCracken, Secretary of Mullahead Ploughing Society, commented: “We are delighted to welcome on board our sponsors for another year. Without their support year on year the match could not continue.
“Mullahead is not only an interesting attraction for the area, it also brings business into the local economy and highlights the importance of farming and agriculture to our visitors. Our sponsor’s values align closely with our own and we are working closely together to put on another successful Mullahead Ploughing Match for 2017.”
Entries are still open for horse and tractor ploughing competitions and the organising committee are welcoming beginners who wish to try ploughing for the first time. Entry forms are available via the website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.