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Gildernew highlights benefits of Agriculture Shows at Enniskillen

6 August, 2008

Sinn Féin Aghriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has visited the County Fermanagh Farming Society's Annual Agricultural Show which is the last Show in this year's Agricultural Show Calendar.

The Minister toured the Showgrounds, where she viewed the livestock judging and met with trade exhibitors and visitors to the Show.

Speaking at the Show the Minister said:

"Enniskillen Show, like other agricultural shows which I have attended, demonstrates the importance of these annual events to the agri-food industry and the whole rural community, as well as providing a big attraction for local town residents. Although farmers and the general public are feeling the impact of higher energy and other costs there is still an amazing optimism and resilience from the many visitors that I have met at all of the shows."

Praising the organisers' efforts, the Minister added: "I am always overwhelmed by the large numbers of enthusiastic people who turn up to work exceedingly hard at these agricultural shows and without these people such Shows could not function. It gives me great pride that across all of our agricultural shows, there are tremendous numbers of cattle and sheep in the various classes, turned out in pristine condition.

"These shows also offer a strong sense of hope for the future, particularly when I look at the amount of work that livestock exhibitors put into the preparation and training of their prize animals for these shows. Taking part in the show cuts across all age-groups and is a great way to encourage interest in farming amongst our young people."

The Minister also visited the Department's exhibition which focuses on the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013. The Programme provides advice, mentoring and training for farmers and their families and it supports a wide range of projects including farm modernisation, business creation, environment and countryside schemes and diversification.

The Minister concluded:

"The RDP provides opportunities to build a more sustainable rural economy and improve the quality of local life. I hope that rural dwellers living across the North will be able to put to good use the opportunities provided by the programme." ENDS

Since May the Minister has attended the Balmoral, Ballymena, Lurgan, Omagh and Enniskillen agricultural shows.

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