The Ploughing attracted almost 300,000 visitors to the Laois site
THIS week is an occasion for celebration for farming folk, all rural dwellers and indeed many urbanites as up to 300,000 visitors descend on neighbouring Co. Laois for the three-day National Ploughing Championships.
The biggest annual event in Ireland and indeed one of the biggest on the European agricultural calendar, 'the Ploughing' is a celebration of all that is good in farming and rural life.
It provides an opportunity for hard working farmers and for those employed in the agri-sector to let their hair down, interact with their colleagues and view the latest developments in agricultural technology.
The organisers of this mammoth annual event deserve our congratulations as indeed do all the volunteers from ploughing associations across the country who make it possible.
However, despite the positive face of farming being on show this week it is impossible to gloss over the statistics which outline that rural Ireland is fighting a battle for survival on many fronts.
The buoyancy of the Ploughing also contrasts starkly with the cost of living and energy crisis which is currently affecting Ireland and Europe.
Despite this attendees at the event in Ratheniska, this week will have a bounce in their step as one of the country's most popular events returns after an enforced absence due to Covid.
There is also an extra buzz this year as Ireland is hosting the 67th World Ploughing Contest.
World Ploughing Organization General Secretary Anna Marie McHugh said in the lead up to the event that “iis a massive honour for Ireland to welcome international delegations and their supporters from 28 countries all around the globe. Where the very best plough men & women in the world will be battling it out to be crowned ‘World Champion’. International teams have been arriving for the past few weeks and it is fantastic to have some of these teams here with us today.”
Ms McHugh added: “The Championships not only provides a national stage for showcasing all things that are great about Ireland but also brings together people from all sectors of Irish society both rural and urban, to enjoy three days immersed in country living.
There is also serious international appeal with exhibitors, global buyers and visitors coming from far flung countries such as France, the USA, UK, Uganda, Germany, India, Poland, Ghana, Belgium, New Zealand, France, Saudi Arabia, Lativa and the Netherlands making Ploughing the perfect opportunity to show the very best of Ireland’s food, farming & culture.”
Millions of euro worth of agricultural and plant machinery are on display featuring an extensive range of cutting edge agricultural technology and equipment, with the opportunity to see these in action in the machinery demonstration area.
The leading manufacturers and agents are also present with specialist sales advisors and technical experts available for free consultations.
Sustainability is very much a key theme for #Ploughing2022. This year at the three-day event there are numerous green initiatives, - for example the NPA will be promoting the use of recyclable products, food waste will be converted into energy through an anaerobic digester and there will also be solar panelled lighting towers, cardboard compactors, litter fines and waste separation operations on-site.”
There is no doubt that the entrepreneurial spark is alive and well in Ireland with an unprecedented number of diverse and exciting businesses from every county in Ireland exhibiting at the “Local Enterprise Village”. Enterprise Ireland have a tremendous display planned in the Innovation Arena which will include the finalists for the Innovation Awards this year but also the winners from 2020/21 and there will be 130 international buyers in attendance which is great for business.
All of the firm favourite attractions have returned this year such as Fashion Shows, Meggers,
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