Dodds commends success of landmark 150th show

DUP MEP Diane Dodds pictured with party leader Arlene Foster and their party colleagues at Balmoral Show
DUP MEP Diane Dodds pictured with party leader Arlene Foster and their party colleagues at Balmoral Show

DUP MEP Diane Dodds has praised organisers on the success of the landmark 150th Balmoral Show.

Commenting as the four day event drew to a close, Mrs Dodds said: “I would like to congratulate the RUAS on the resounding success of this year’s Balmoral Show. This week marked the 150th show which is testament to both the hard work of organisers and the continued importance of the agri-food industry to society and the economy in Northern Ireland.

“For a second year in a row the revised four-day format proved a huge success, with thousands of visitors and exhibitors from across Province and beyond coming through the turnstiles. This was a great opportunity to showcase all that is good about the Northern Ireland agri-food industry.

“I have always valued the Balmoral Show as an important week in the local calendar to pause, take stock and engage directly with farmers, processors and the wider public on their views and concerns for the future. This year provided another extremely helpful listening exercise for my Party colleagues and I as we continue to make the local case at Westminster and Brussels.

“There is no doubt that these are challenging times for local farming sectors, but there are also opportunities. In the context of Brexit, while there was no sense of buyers remorse among farmers who voted to leave the EU, they did reiterate the need to see the detail of a future British Agricultural Policy and one which rewards productive agriculture. These are just some of the areas around which we continue to work closely with the Government. There was also a very real sense that Brexit offers the opportunity to do some things differently and to remove some of the red tape that farmers have faced as a result of Brussels regulation. It was also good to receive positive feedback about our Party stance on retaining unfettered access to Great Britain for local produce. Almost 75% of local agri-food is sold within the UK and this cannot be placed in jeopardy.

“The past four days have been invaluable as we in the DUP continue to use our influence to shape policy that supports productive and sustainable agriculture in Northern Ireland in important years to come.”

Mrs Dodds added: “I would thank to thank all those who visited into my stand through the course of week and to praise organisers for all of their efforts in making this year’s Balmoral Show an overwhelming success.”