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President's Blog

Brian Harries shares his thoughts before the Show

Have you heard about the Welshman who walked into an Irish pub and asked the barman for a whisky and the barman said would you like a double or a single?

I'll have a single came the reply. Well you may as well have a double said the barman for a single and a double are the same price!

Of course this sounds a very unlikely tale but the truth is it actually happened to me. You may not be aware of this but our County Show is twinned with Tinahely Show in Ireland and every year about ten of us visit their Show and a week later about ten of their Society visit our Show. Earlier this week nine of us were truly privileged to spend the day as guests of the good people who deliver the Tinahely Show

What wonderful people the Irish are. They are friendly, humorous, charming and produce some of the best livestock you could ever wish to see. We learn so much from visiting their Show and it was nice to hear their Chairman George comment this year how much they had benefited from visiting our Show.

In this day and age, the secret to success is to keep continually learning.

About a month ago I had the opportunity to give a short address on behalf of the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society to a meeting of Pembrokeshire Head teachers who were holding a conference at the Pavilion on the County Showground.  I chose to make the point that farming had changed beyond recognition in recent decades and explained that there were so many challenging opportunities for the brightest and best of their students in the field of agriculture. I explained that managing a large dairy unit for example in the modern world demanded someone capable of understanding a whole range of disciplines from financial planning to grasping the impact modern science has in the feeding of livestock and the growing of crops. It is not uncommon I told them for a top herdsman to be earning £60,000 a year.

I would suggest that any young person contemplating a career could benefit hugely from visiting our Show. Some of the farm machinery being displayed is mind boggling. Many are now being operated by satellite, there are cows being miked by robots and so much more. The companies that produce this technology would have fantastic opportunities for the right candidates and many of those companies are represented at our show. We have agri chemical and engineering companies in addition to law and accountancy firms alongside so many tourism enterprises with the National Parks, the Police and Pembrokeshire County Council all available to talk about the enormous opportunities there are to be part of the great work they do in making our County function.

I am writing this reminding myself that I really should have worked harder when I was in school back in the 50's and early 60's. I am not proud of the fact that I still have some homework from 1964 that I have not quite finished! Maybe, once the show is over I will knuckle down and get it done.

I had such an enjoyable day last week when I visited Fishguard Show and the highlight for me was watching the cattle classes being judged and chatting to the stockmen at the same time. We talked about the months of training that goes into preparing an animal for completion These stockmen deserve high praise and admiration for what they do.

Of course we are only days away from Pembrokeshire County Show 2018 and everything seems to be on course. Just like our stockmen are preparing their animals, Margaret surprised me this week by buying two spare County Show Ties. When I asked her why, she quickly reminded me of the close relationship my ties have always had with gravy, custard and red wine. Enough said!

We are looking forward to next week so much and it must be said that without our wonderful staff at the Bristol Trader we could never have taken on this commitment. They do a wonderful job for us and we cannot thank them enough. However, having said all of that, if ever you are in the Trader and they offer you a double whisky for the price of a single, RING ME IMMEADIATELY!

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