Livestock show faces changes

Major changes to the annual National Primestock Show & Sale have been announced by organiser the Staffordshire & Birmingham Agricultural Society.

The first is that the name will change to the English Winter Fair Show & Sale, bringing it in line with the other main winter events - the Welsh Winter Fair and the Scottish Winter Fair.

Changes have also been made to ensure meat buyers have a genuine chance to buy the supreme champion.

George Greaves, show chairman and local beef farmer, said: "We are aware that, in previous years, this has been prevented by exhibitors wishing to take their beast away from the show for whatever reason. The champion will automatically be entered into the show's auction of prize-winners and will be sold to the highest bidder; that person will have to pay the winning bid and all commission charges that become due.

"Where the committee finds that an exhibitor has intentionally instructed the auctioneer to set an unattainable reserve or withdraws the beast from sale, they will face suspension from showing at this event for two years," he said.

Other major changes aim to make the show more accessible to working farming families, who face mounting pressure from the decline in labour on many units, said Greaves: "A concern has been that the championships, which normally conclude on a Saturday afternoon, conflict with the need for some visitors to return home and tend to livestock." As a result, most championships will be moved to Sunday morning.

The event's committee hopes the raft of changes will make a visit to the English Winter Fair Show & Sale, which will be held on the weekend of 17-18 November, more accessible and enjoyable for all parties. A hog roast is planned as a welcome for exhibitors staying at the venue on the Friday evening before the show.

"We hope that changes planned for this inaugural English Winter Fair Show & Sale will help draw in visitors to the event. We are blessed with some of the finest quality livestock produced and hope the show continues to reward exhibitors, but also visitors, traders and meat buyers as well," said Greaves.

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