There is delight and pride among the ploughing community and farmers of the midlands and Laois in particular as it has been chosen as the location for the 2013 National Ploughing Championships.
Details of the logistics of what is involved for local farmers were revealed at last weekend’s launch in Killenard by Jim and Benny Greene of the Portlaoise and District Ploughing Club, which was only formed last year and is the host club.
While the main site will be located on David Carter’s land, it is expected that land owned by at least 15 farmers could be needed to host the event. Up to 600 arcres will be needed depending on the weather and demand for car parking,
The trade arena will cover up 100 acres on the Carter farm with 50 fresh acres needed for each day of ploughing.
Mr Carter is a tillage farmer but his land will be laid down with grass for the next year. Silage may be cut next summer and it could be grazed by sheep.
The surrounding farmers will continue to grow cereals as per usual but, in the weeks before the match, the National Ploughing Association will move in and mark out their fields for car parking.
From August 1 work on the trade site on the Carter land gets under way with the laying of roads.
Mr David Carter was honoured to host the event.
“I am very thankful to the NPA for choosing Ratheniska as the venue for the 2013 championships. It is a great honour for the community that this site has been chosen. For Laois it is a showcase for the county. The people of Ratheniska will do all they can to help out during the championships.
“The weather is the only thing we cannot control so I hope we can have a fine week for the championships,” he said.
Jim Green said it was great for the club.
“It is brilliant for a club only starting off. To scoop it is the prize of the year,” he said.
Jim said he hoped that farmers would come on board from around the county and said the Park-Ratheniska GAA had already signed up to help. He praised the Jimmy Morrin of the GAA club chairman for his contribution to date.
Mrs Anna May McHugh, championships chief executive thanked Benny Greene for his work to date.
“He is a very young ploughman and has brought honour to Laois and he did Trojan work to get this event. He has been helping us every day since word got out,” she said.
DJ McHugh, Chairman of Laois Ploughing, thanked all the landowners from Ratheniska. He said Jim and Benny Greene of the Portlaoise and District Ploughing Club for getting the ball rolling.
“The response was mighty. I thank them so much for that. It is going to be a huge honour for us to host the event which is located at the cross roads of Ireland. We are not going to leave any stone unturned to make this a successful event,” he said.
He said one well known farmer was planning ahead in his own way.
“Har Rambsbottom is saying Novena’s since the grass seeds were sown so that we have a mild winter,” he said.
As for Mr Ramsbottom, he said the community was would give everthing.
“Its great for the community and to make it a success we’ll give it 150%. We’ll have everybody involved,” he told the.
Diarmuid Drennan, Chairman of Ratheniska IFA was delighted to see his area chosen
“It is once in a lifetime opportunity to host it. Ratheniska would be predominantly tillage area and to have the ploughing there fits well in. We are very closely knit community and the whole community is 100% behind. The site is very good with six major roads having acess and the motorway is a big plus.
He was confident that all Laois farmers would back the event.
“Everyone will throw their weight behind it. It has been in Ballacolla before and it was a major success,” he said.