I recently attended the launch of the 68th International Ploughing Championships, along with Rosamond Bennett, Head of Communications, Northern Bank and Agribusiness Managers Brian McNair, Newtownards and Ian Craig, Belfast. The NI Ploughing match will be returning to County Down this year, taking place on 14th and 15th October on the Ards Peninsula.
This event is always a highlight of the agricultural calendar here and 2011 promises to be no exception with an excellent site being provided by Mr Francis Watson at Kearney near Portaferry.
Northern Bank continues to be the Principal Sponsor, supporting the NI Ploughing Association as overall sponsor of the Championships and the sponsorship package will again help the NIPA to run the International Championships which select the team to represent Northern Ireland at the World Match. Northern Bank will sponsor the main ploughing classes from which the combined results will determine the Northern Ireland team.
The sponsorship package will also include the Best Trade Stand Competition with specially commissioned awards being presented to the best three trade stands at the event. The Association is putting an increased focus on the trade element of the event this year and will be encouraging a bigger and broader range of trade exhibits to interest both farmers and other visitors, particularly families.
At the launch, I commented: “Northern Bank is proud to sponsor the 68th International Ploughing Championships organised by the NI Ploughing Association. Our links with the NIPA go back many years and we were delighted to continue that support with Principal Sponsorship of the 2011 Match. At Northern Bank we believe that banking should be straightforward and we endeavour to achieve that in how we deal with our farming customers, in how we communicate with our customers and the industry and how we develop our products and services. We extend our best wishes to the NIPA for another successful ploughing match in October and encourage everyone to mark their calendar now and plan to attend and enjoy a day out in the Ards. Hopefully the weather conditions will be kind and that the ploughing will be straightforward too”
NIPA Chairman Wilson Holden said that the Association was looking forward to returning to the Ards Peninsula and expressed the NIPA’s appreciation to the host Francis Watson, principal sponsor Northern Bank, DARD, YFCU, Kenneth Gracey and everyone who was working to make this year’s match even bigger and better than before.
Once again the NI International Ploughing Championships will be supported by the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and Kenneth Gracey, Forthill Farm, Tandragee with the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster holding a number of competitive activities for members at the event.
Here’s hoping that the weather will be kind this year and provide excellent conditions for competing ploughmen and visitors.