Smithfield Festival targets wider livestock industry

William Haire
William Haire

The East of England Smithfield Festival will continue to evolve in 2016, with festival director William Haire promising to deliver an event with broader appeal to the farming sector.

Visitors of this year’s event, which is being held on 15 and 16 November at the East of England Showground in Peterborough, will not only be able to see some of the best primestock in the country, but will also have the opportunity to gain valuable information on the latest technologies, ideas and developments within the livestock industry.

“While the traditional Smithfield cattle and sheep primestock classes will remain at its very heart, I’m taking a fresher approach to deliver an event which is more relevant to the wider farming industry,” says William.

“In order to remain economically viable, I strongly believe that it’s vital livestock farmers are progressive, share advice and embrace the technology available to them. The festival is a great opportunity to facilitate this and I particularly encourage the younger generation, as well as farmers from other sectors, to come along and join the conversation. We can all learn from each other for a stronger British agriculture.”

This ethos is something that William, a livestock farmer at heart who has spent much of his life breeding pedigree Hereford cattle, is also keen to deliver through the many other events which he organises on behalf of the East of England Smithfield Agricultural Society. These include a conference, regional dinners and a group for young professionals in agriculture, all of which bring the farming community together on a professional and social level.

William’s determination to add focus on the future issues within the industry and develop the Smithfield Festival with a forward thinking and innovative approach, comes in part from his experience of livestock farming abroad, along with his studies as a Nuffield Farming scholar.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Australia and New Zealand as well as America and Canada. The work these countries are doing to progress their livestock industry, particularly in the field of breeding technology and genetic markers, has really impressed me. And while there is no doubt that the UK produces some of the best livestock in the world, we need to move with the times in order to remain competitive in the market place.

“The East of England Smithfield Festival is really branching out to accommodate this, with an expanding industry tradestand area, along with a packed line-up of competitions and a programme of seminars. It will certainly prove a worthwhile visit for anybody looking to progress within the livestock industry,” concludes William.