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National Ploughing Championships – a great place to do business – Gildernew

21 September, 2010

Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has begun a two-day visit to the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, County Kildare.

The Minister was welcomed by the National Ploughing Association’s President, James Grainger and Anna May McHugh, Managing Director. During a tour of the extensive site she had the opportunity to speak with competitors and view trade exhibits. She also visited the DARD exhibition where she met representatives of a wide range of small businesses from the north of Ireland.

Speaking during her tour, the Minister said: “The National Ploughing Championships is a truly outstanding and unique event. This is the fourth time I have attended the NPC in my capacity as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and I never cease to be impressed by the vast range of products and services that are on offer.

“I have found it a great place to do business and promote collaborative actions for the benefit of farmers and rural dwellers across Ireland. Attendance at events like this helps to develop and strengthen relationships whether that be on an all-Ireland, east west or European basis. These relationships are vital in ensuring we develop strong policies locally that meet the particular circumstances of our farming and rural communities.

“I particularly welcome that I have been able to help 11 small rural businesses attend as part of the DARD exhibition to explore new market opportunities and wish them every success over the next three days. It is very important that our rural businesses maximise all opportunities across Ireland to grow their business and introduce themselves to new markets.

“With an audience of over one hundred and fifty thousand potential customers, I hope the rural businesses participating in DARD’s exhibition can make the National Ploughing Championships work for them. The Championships have now become the largest outdoor agricultural event in Europe and illustrates the importance of the agri-food industry and rural community to the wider economy. The popularity of the event illustrates the resilience of the agri-food industry and rural community, even during times of economic uncertainty.”

Discussing the National Ploughing Championships event, the Minister added: “In these modern and rapidly changing times it is wonderful to see so many, young and old participating in traditional ploughing events. I am aware of 10 northern competitors across various classes this year and I wish them the best of luck at this year’s event.”

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