Another successful County Show

On Wednesday and Thursday I was lucky enough to get along to this year’s County Show and, with the Bishop of Stafford as Show President fixing the weather, yet again it didn’t disappoint.  The days provided a great opportunity for the county’s farmers, tourism businesses, food and drink producers to show off their wares and for the public to see what’s going on in the county and to sample some of the county’s finest produce.  With the Bulldogs motorcycle show, the cattle and dog showing and all the other activities and displays the show was a great success and one of the busiest ever.  Staffordshire is 80% rural and the rural economy plays an important role in our overall economy, so it’s important to celebrate this.

In the county council marquee, our county farms team, which has just taken on its latest tenant, were promoting the work of its 102 farmers and their contribution to the local economy.  Also talking to people was the Superfast Staffordshire broadband team, which is in the process of overseeing the delivery of a £28 million project which will see 95 per cent of properties able to access superfast broadband speeds by the end of 2016.

We also launched two exciting resources in the ‘Fit for Farming manual’ and ‘Ruropoly’, a new board game to help highlight issues affecting rural communities.

The ‘Fit for Farming’ manual has been designed to help farmers look after their health and combat the high rates of stress in the profession.  The booklet will give farmers the tools to help manage their physical and mental health, and point them to services that will help them in times of crisis.

As an arable and sheep farmer myself, farming and rural issues are very close to my heart. Farm life continues to be busy and hectic, and any illness within those farming communities can have a terrible impact on individuals and the family concerned as well as the business.  Farmers are working harder and longer and have to rely on others more for help and support, so the good health and wellbeing of farming families and the extended workforce is always a very important issue for Staffordshire.

Ruropoly is a new board game designed to help promote rural issues and will be used by both young people and adults in schools, and in community groups.  Players move around the board   landing on both opportunities and questions, all highlighting issues affecting rural communities, the economy and environment and also the impact of decision making on them.  It’s a fun way of helping people understand the importance of the rural economy for Staffordshire.

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