As the National Ploughing Championships draw near, I caught up with Sean Sherman,chair of the Pedigree Breeders Council, to understand why many of Ireland’s breed societies are not attending this year’s event.

It is very clear from talking to Sean and other breed society representatives that their focus is on doing the right thing by their breeders.

Sean said: “Pedigree breed societies come out strong supporting local agricultural shows in recognition of better representation of individual breeders and rural farm families.”

He added: “Agricultural shows are in many ways the gateway to a sustainable rural living.

“Pedigree breeders across all breeds live in rural Ireland and are demonstrating in no small way, the passion for family farm survival.

“All-Ireland competitions throughout the different breeds are organised at various different shows, where the hosting show gets the opportunity to promote their community and get farming families involved in organising and participating in showcasing at the highest level.

“From a breed society perspective, it’s important that breeders have the opportunity to interact with focused groups and like-minded people that live, work, socialise and survive in rural Ireland and thereby contribute to a vibrant rural economy.

“Agricultural national events are also very important in showcasing what we can achieve as a country and how we support our rural population but the budgets have to be realistic and managed in a way that benefits everyone,” he concluded.

Representatives from other breed societies have also described their absence from the National Ploughing Championships as not being permanent and they may look at exhibiting at the championships in the future.