With Spring upon us and at least the promise of warmer weather we will soon start reconvening at our local, county and national shows and events. After a wet and miserable winter, it will be a welcome boost to catch up with friends and family, and enjoy the very best of what agriculture has to offer here in Wales.

Sioe Nefyn, is the first agricultural show of the season here in Wales and it takes place this coming Bank holiday Monday, 6 of May, at Botacho Wyn, Nefyn on the Llŷn in Gwynedd (LL53 6HA). The show was established in 1893 by a small group of local farmers who wanted to showcase their own horses and livestock to the local community. And what an achievement for a small rural voluntary led show to progress and continue to its 126th show, this coming week. 

There will be vintage cars and tractor demonstrations, Gwynedd Axemen will share their prowess, trade and craft stands will dot the field, showjumping, a shepherd’s crooks exhibition plus a fairground and children’s entertainment will be sure to draw in the crowds. And that’s on top of the livestock, poultry, equine, dogs, handicraft and cookery competition sections! Visit the website www.sioenefyn.cymru for all the information.

We are truly indebted to our rural community volunteers for continuing to drive and organise these local shows and events. It’s no easy task. It needs dedication, time and commitment and we know within this industry how limited our downtime is.

A useful webinar was held this week by the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) which aims to guide show officials who welcome cattle, sheep, pigs, camelids, poultry, other captive birds and other livestock to their events. Between 4pm and 5pm this Friday, 3 May, a webinar will cover what you should consider and prepare for and what actions you must take to protect the health of animals at agricultural shows. 

It will share with organisers what to do if a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed at the show or event. At the end of the session questions will be taken to support the group attending. The webinar promotion says: “Being aware of, and prepared for, the risk that notifiable and new and emerging diseases pose to animals, and maintaining effective biosecurity to protect them has never been more critical. These DEFRA ‘Plan, Prevent and Protect’ webinars will be led by policy officials, epidemiologists and veterinary professionals.”.  

With avian influenza or bird flu having caused problems in Wales, new guidance from the 26 of April states that gatherings of all poultry and captive birds in Wales are permitted. You must, however, meet the requirements of the poultry or captive bird gathering general licence plus notify the APHA of the event at least 7 days before it begins. 

As you can see, there is a lot of behind the scenes work needed to ensure, not only the safety of the people attending our local shows, but the safety, health and well-being of the animals too. From all FUW members, can we say a huge thank you to all show volunteers who make sure that these events continue to showcase our fantastic industry to the wider community.