The downpours made it sticky under foot but thousands from the UK’s farming industry came prepared as they descended on Boothby Graffoe for Cereals 2019.
The top UK arable farming trade show rolls up in the area every two years and it was expected to see around 17,000 people turn up from across the country and Europe to learn more about the latest techniques, thinking, machinery and technology in the business of keeping our crops growing.
There were numerous lectures while mighty machines - including some that driverless examples - took to the demonstration arenas to impress customers last Wednesday and Thursday. Major manufacturers wowed with inspection pits for trial crops and huge stands more suited to a rock concert.
Many local exhibitors were on hand.
Keith Phillips of Duncan and Toplis accountants, who have branches all over the county, knew the way to farmers’ hearts with a gastro pub and gin bar. He said: “It is giving back a bit to our farming community.”
He said: “That community represents over a quarter of our client base. Most farmers have diversified and we also help the many suppliers and ancillary industries.”
Mr Phillips predicted farmers needed to be prepared for new agricultural legislation, and Brexit seeing changes to current subsidy levels. They would need help to choose what path would be best to diversify such as solar panels, biomass boilers, egg production or holiday letting.
One of the largest presences was that of Bardney-based fertiliser company, Omex. Laura Edwards their marketing manager said they are the UK’s largest manufacturer of liquid fertiliser, supplying 80 countries.
She said: “We have a demonstration sprayer boom show how liquid nitrogen is supplied with different nozzles and explaining what we do.”
Lincolnshire Young Farmers Clubs also had a presence at Cereals. County chairman Holly Howell from Louth said local Harmston club members were helping handing out leaflets and goodie bags to new arrivals, while others had been helping set up the show. She said: “We are out there networking at this important Lincolnshire event.”
Ian Dawson, membership services manager with long established farm buying group Woldmarsh of Louth, was also at the show recruiting potential new members.
He explained they are a non-profiting making buying group that can negotiate and bulk buy supplies, equipment and services at a better deal on behalf of its member farmers.
He said they have an annual turnover of £110 million: “This year we should celebrate reaching our 1,000th member by presenting them with a gift. We also have a free gift scheme for existing members who recommend new members.”
A percentage of their levy charge is shared with charities, with £1,000 each going to the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Mr Dawson said they also run a charity golf day each May and last time raised £6,300 thanks to the power of the group.
Thompson and Richardson, insurance brokers with offices in Sleaford, Grantham, Boston and Lincoln, welcomed existing customers to their stand.
Director Chris Wade said getting on the wet site had been fine due to restrictions to vehicles. He said the agricultural side of his business was doing well, with many long-standing farming clients. He said: "This event is about investing in those existing clients."
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