I’m pleased to say that a week of wet and miserable weather couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm and commitment of those who turned out to support the Royal Welsh.
The show has endured some tough times in recent years, but last week’s success has put it back on firm footing.
It’s hard to understate the importance of this event in Wales. It draws in a quarter of a million visitors over four days, and acts as the shop-window for the best of Welsh produce and livestock
I am pleased to say that the Conservatives were received exceptionally well by both farming unions. It was also a pleasure to join Nick Bourne and our new MEP Kay Swinburne in some very constructive discussions with farming leaders and representatives of the industry.
From speaking with farmers and members of the public, it was plain that there is a new mood in the countryside. No longer is there just the slow-burning frustration with an ignorant and unsympathetic government, but an optimism that this situation can finally change.
In the meantime, Welsh agriculture still faces major challenges. The recent collapse of the Dairy Farmers of Britain group was a severe blow to the industry, and after two months of calling for an inquiry, I am pleased that one will finally be carried out.
The importance of Wales continuing its pioneering bovine TB eradication programme was a point frequently raised at the Show, and it is a source of pride that the Conservatives remain the only party in Wales fully supporting this policy.
Yet for all the progress being made, the countryside faces yet another wave of government-sanctioned red-tape – from electronic sheep ID, to a new ‘horse tax’, and an attempt to hamstring agricultural shows by banning office workers from driving horseboxes on weekends.
It’s times like these that I’m reminded why the next general election can’t come soon enough.