Oxford Farming Conference Emerging Leader, David Hill, has launched the “The Greatest Agricultural Show” to honour all of the shows forced to cancel in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Charlotte Cunningham reports.

Hundreds of agricultural shows up and down the country forced to cancel due to the coronavirus pandemic and to honour them, The Greatest Agricultural show was born and will go online on the 2 May.

The show is the brainchild of Berks-farm David Hill, who has chosen five rural welfare charities to support, including RABI, RSABI, FCN, YANA and The DPJ Foundation. A large number of businesses and rural organisations are involved in hosting various areas of the show and trade stands are being encouraged to make a charity donation for their presence.   

“For centuries, agricultural shows have been central in the social calendar of rural communities as a place to gather, socialise, trade and compete against each other with the finest livestock, crops and horses,” says David. “The agricultural show has weathered many storms, including surviving two world wars in the last century and dramatic crises like foot and mouth disease.

“The lockdown of movement has forced many show organisers to cancel their 2020 events, starving communities of an important community gathering, denying thousands of traders the opportunity to promote themselves and halting important fundraising opportunities for charities at a time when they are more in need than ever.

The event has received a vast amount of support on social media, which came as a bit of a surprise, according to David. “I set up a Twitter account and followers started streaming in, within 24 hours, I had over 1,000 followers. I realised just how much enthusiasm there was for this idea, so I decided that I would make it happen. I was blown away by the offers of support”.

Humbled and delighted

Andrew Lazenby, chief executive of Innovation for Agriculture spotted the show at its early stages and contacted David to offer support in getting the infrastructure together to help make the show a reality. 

“I am humbled and delighted to have been involved and must use this opportunity to particularly thank our brilliant web designers, Altido. This has been a particularly difficult time for them, as not only have we set them an impossibly tight deadline, but they have also tragically lost a much-loved team member to the coronavirus during these last few weeks. A sharp reminder that behind all the fun of our Show, we must all stay at home. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all involved who have moved imperfect mountains in minutes to be where we are today, and I very much hope you all enjoy the show.”

The show will run as a one-day event hosted on the website www.OnlineAgShow.co.uk, it will be accompanied by social media activity.