Smithfield Show offers helping hand

Help is on hand for livestock producers and the meat trade at this year's Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair.

The fair, which takes place on 5-6 December at the Royal Bath and West of England Showground at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, will feature a wide range of attractions and new features.

Exhibitors from across the meat and livestock sector will be on hand to showcase the latest equipment and services available to the industry.

Dr Jane Guise, chief executive of the Royal Bath & West of England Society, joint organisers of the show with the Royal Smithfield Club, said: "We're looking to build on the enormous success generated by the 2006 Fair. Practical help combined with new features this year mean this promises to be an event not to be missed by anyone in the business of producing livestock or meat."

The event is being held at the showground for the second time since relocating from Earls Court, London in 2006.

The livestock competitions will again be at the heart of the show, with over 100 classes covering beef cattle, calves, and sheep.

As the culmination of all the major national winter fair competitions, there is prize money of more than £50,000 and trophies valued in excess of £100,000.

The Meat Industry Dinner will be held on the Friday evening of this year's Fair, and the guest speaker will be a ministerial representative of Defra.

The dinner will also see the presentation of the Royal Smithfield Club's Bicentenary Trophy to the person considered to have made the most significant contribution to the livestock and meat sectors.

Trade stands across several halls and throughout the showground will include specialist services for beef and sheep producers, equipment suppliers and retailers specialising in rural and agricultural products.

There will also be a food hall featuring a wide range of local produce. The British Pig Association will provide a demonstration of pedigree pigs and also stage a prestigious National Sausage Competition.

Show manager Alan Lyons said: "The emphasis of this year's Fair will be on practical help and advice for producers and meat traders."

He said a series of seminars would be held to discuss how to secure future supplies of meat and on practical issues related to livestock production.

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