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Gildernew backs local Ploughmen at Kilkenny National Championships

16 September, 2008

Local ploughmen carry the best wishes of the Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA in the National Ploughing Championships at Kilkenny next week.

Past World Champion David Gill, a brother of current World Champion Samuel Gill, Thomas Cochrane who was third at the recent World event in Austria, and County Tyrone ploughman Brian O'Neill will be among the 300 competitors at Ireland's premier event.

Minister Gildernew, who recently hosted a reception at Stormont for the NI Ploughing Association, said:

"I want to wish all our ploughmen the best of luck in the championships. We have seven World Ploughing Champions from the North which is an outstanding achievement and I hope this year's event in Kilkenny brings all the NIPA participants every success."

Promoting DARD plans for the National Ploughing Championships, the Minister also called on local diversified farm businesses to take advantage of the trade opportunities on offer at the event.

She said:

"The National Ploughing Championships is one of the highlights of the Irish farming calendar, and offers an ideal opportunity for agri-food businesses to demonstrate products and services to a wider audience. This year the Department will be facilitating a number of local diversified farming businesses including crafts, engineering, technology, services, tourism and food to help them promote their businesses in a new market.

"We will also be displaying a wide range of services and information on animal health as well as research and development. The new Rural Development Programme (RDP) will also form a major part of the DARD exhibition showing the range of measures the RDP has to offer.

"I want to encourage as many people as possible to attend and support our industry at the event. The National Ploughing Championships offers a wide range of new potential clients to our businesses. I urge them all to make the most of the opportunity to open new markets; after-all the organizers are hoping for in excess of 150,000 in attendance at the event.

"It gives me great pleasure to be in a position to assist our industry's participation at such a large national event and I hope the DARD exhibition site at the show will reap great rewards for all those agri-food businesses participating." ENDS

Notes to Editors

Last year there were over 900 trade exhibitors at the National Ploughing Championships which attracted crowds of over 160,000. This spectacular event boasts the largest mobile machinery exhibition in Europe combining upwards of 70 acres of trade exhibition with an extensive machinery demonstration area.

The 77th National Ploughing Championships will take place at Cuffesgrange, County Kilkenny from Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 September.

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