There was a real sense of excitement at the launch of the 2017 National Ploughing Championships on the Screggan site, Tullamore, Co Offaly. The 3 day event opens on September 19.
Media and special guests were entertained by local performers, the now famous identical quadruplet calves Jenny, Rosie, Mia and Fluffy, a sneak peak of the site build, horses and hounds from the hunt chase, a glimpse of the highly anticipated fashion shows and a taste of the entertainment programme for Ploughing 2017.
Launching the event, NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said: “The Championships not only provides a national stage for showcasing all things agricultural, but also brings together people from all sectors of Irish society both rural and urban, to enjoy three days immersed in country living."
“It is great to see the phenomenal interest in the Ploughing Championships with countries such as the USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, New Zealand, France and the Netherlands exhibiting. Also the number of overseas buyers coming to ploughing has doubled with buyers and visitors from Italy, Hungary, Australia, Prague, South Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, India, Poland, China and Russia,” Anna May added.
“With record crowds of 283,000 visitors in attendance last year and the site in Screggan proving to be a phenomenal success, signals would suggest another “great ploughing” is on the way. Anna May commended the Gardai on their Traffic Plan and asked the public to travel with care and follow the plan provided.
Food and farming were the flare of the day as ploughing enthusiasts, landowners and public representatives including the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and photographic journalists got a flavour of all that “Ploughing” has to offer.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed said: "It is with great delight that I am here today to launch this year's National Ploughing Championships. This is the pinnacle event in the farming calendar and a wonderful celebration of agriculture and rural life."
Exciting new initiatives this year will see the return of the Machinery Demonstration Area, the inaugural Harry Ferguson Macra Tractor Driver Safety Award and the Biggest Indoor Innovation Arena built at any Irish Event.
There will be an array of new exhibitors as well as hundreds of outstanding veteran companies showcasing their products and services in dynamic ways. The very latest models in agricultural machinery, quality livestock, a Forestry Village, Food Fayre, an International Business Centre.
There will also be a Local Enterprise Village with exhibitors from all over Ireland, National Brown Baking Final, Foroige Young Cooks Final, Crafts, Pig Agility, topical seminars and lots of special events.
In the ploughing stakes over 350 competitors are preparing to showcase the art of ploughing on Offaly soil over 3 autumn September days with many returning to challenge or defend a title.
Dubbed as the Farmers Festival #Ploughing17 is sure to be trending later this month as one of Europe’s Largest Outdoor Events.