The Royal Highland Show: back on what makes it vibrate

THIS WEEK we reflect on a memorable Royal Highland Show as it made its return after a Covid-induced hiatus. We have sought the views of some trade exhibitors given their importance to the long-term security of the event…and this includes The Scottish Farmer.

What was the highlight of the show for you?

“Like everyone else, it was just being part of all that mix that makes farming such an exciting business to be a part of and to report on. It’s the people who ‘make’ the events and the show of this year certainly proved it.

“Of course the cattle show counts as a favorite for many and there is perhaps a danger that this huge draw will suck footfall into the trading areas, and although there have been mixed opinions regarding the trade being carried out around the exhibition, some pay off really well.

“As for The SF, I would say we were a bit quieter, but we still found that we had an acceptable number of customers coming to our booth. It’s always good to interact with loads of people we’re probably only lucky enough to meet come to the Royal Highland, which is why it’s still important for us to be there.

Why is the fair important for the sector?

“Sometimes we forget that agriculture is not just a way of life, but also a business and the connections made and maintained by trade to the show are a vital cog in the wheel that keeps the industry moving. The show is the conduit ideal for this .. .. and it must remain so.

“On the other hand, there is the role that all meetings and greetings play in improving the mental well-being of many people. After two years of confinement and Covid epidemics, it was a much needed tonic for many of us, myself included.

“The importance of this and also the reconnections made with rural charities, such as RHET and RSABI, are key to maintaining the caring side of farming which can sometimes be too easy to forget. When the need arises feel, agriculture is a big supporter of many charities and maybe it’s something we don’t cry out for often or loudly enough.”

What would make the show better for next year?

“From our perspective, connectivity needs to be better. Despite RHASS’ much-vaunted expenditure on internet connectivity three years ago, the loss of much of it, particularly on Thursday and Friday of the show , had a huge impact on us and we have been assured that this will be investigated and action will be taken.

“In addition, the flow of people through the fairgrounds needs to be looked at to improve the prospects for trade booths in certain parts of the fairgrounds to get people to buy tickets.

“For those in the stocks…the provision of hot showers would be greatly appreciated, especially when you have to sit next to some of them!”

Lindsay Haddon, on behalf of Massey Ferguson:

What was the highlight of the show for you?

“There have been many highlights of the Royal Highland Show for the Massey Ferguson team this year, but the most important should simply be being back on the show ground with our customers and friends.

“Despite the uncertainty as to whether the show would be busy, we were so excited to be back and needn’t have worried as it was a fantastic turnout, our booth was constantly a bustle of familiar faces and new.

“Moving the stands to a larger area was a huge benefit for us, it meant we could showcase more machines in an even more hospitable environment. The extra space made a huge difference for us and was definitely a plus. strong.

“Showcasing our Queen’s Jubilee MF 8S tractor in such a large space was quite another, as it was part of our 175th anniversary this year.

“Another highlight was the official recognition of our Technical Innovation Award, as we couldn’t do it last year. We won silver for our MF 8S tractor (see photo).

Why is the fair important for the sector?

“The RHS is not just important, it is imperative for agriculture and farming communities, both in Scotland and beyond. You will never see a more diverse mix of people, sectors, products and services all come together to celebrate food, agriculture and the countryside.

“It’s easy for people to get to, so we don’t just greet people from the same neighborhoods…customers come from all over.”

What would make the show better for next year?

It’s hard to say what would make it better. From an outside perspective, perhaps the parking lot was a slight bone of contention.

“We were a bit confused about tickets and would have preferred bracelets for our team, but other than that we came away feeling great to be back – a very useful few days.”

Ria Macdonald, director of Charles Macleod

What was the highlight of the show for you?

“Coming back from four very busy days at the Royal Highland Show, we certainly have something to think about. It was fantastic to be back at a live, face-to-face event after so long, and everyone who visited our booth felt the same way.

“The show created a real buzz and our stand was occupied from the start. Our flagship product, Stornoway Black Pudding, is very well known and many of our old friends and customers have come to visit our stand to say how much they appreciate it.

“They were delighted to see that the business is still run by us Macleods, albeit third generation! It was great to hear so many stories and connections to Stornoway and our black pudding.

Why is the fair important for the sector?

“Although we are mainly butchers, we are also farmers and crofters on the Isle of Lewis, so I have been a regular at the Highland Show since I was little. Our business depends on the agricultural sector and the connections we make at the Highland Show are an integral part of that. The Royal Highland Show gives us the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships within the industry and make valuable new contacts.

“It’s a big investment for us to attend the show from the Outer Hebrides, but it was certainly worth it. Not only did we sell black pudding, but the opportunity to meet so many customers was fantastic.

What would make the show better for next year?

“Next year would be a great opportunity to further showcase our product range and we would love to be joined by more growers from the Outer Hebrides.

Finlay Macdonald, founder of Glenshiel Chocolates

What was the highlight of the show for you?

“For us, the highlight of this year’s show had to be the opportunity to be part of the bigger picture of Highland and Island food and drink in Scotland’s Larder show hall. The incredibly high standard of food and drink products in Scotland makes us feel so proud to be part of the industry!

“It was wonderful for us to be able to meet some of the producers of the premium ingredients we use in our chocolates and get to know them and hear about their passion for food.

“Another highlight for us was the selection of ice cream stands – just what we needed throughout this sunny weekend!”

Why is the fair important for the sector?

“It seems like most people want to support local small businesses – especially after the past two years – but it can be hard to spot small producers who aren’t on supermarket shelves or high street shelves. The Royal Highland Show brings local businesses and consumers together, giving everyone a chance to experience the wealth of incredible producers here in Scotland, the benefits of which cannot be underestimated.”

What would make the show better for next year?

“The Royal Highland Show is already doing a fantastic job of promoting the food and drink industry. We’re suggesting more brands, more people, more noise, more celebrations and shouting about Scotland’s amazing produce!”

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