Although they had been faced with very difficult economic conditions in the past year, Northern Ireland farmers had overcome these difficulties, said Mr Joseph M Thompson, president of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, at the annual general meeting at Balmoral last week.
Mr Thompson warned, however, that the recent Price Review could cause considerable difficulty for farmers.
“During the past 12 months we have been relatively free from the threat of livestock disease,” he said, “but the financial position of the whole country remains exceedingly difficult.
“The agricultural industry has had to bear its full share of higher prices and restricted credit with very high interest rates. Nevertheless, our farmers and those directly associated with agriculture seem to have adapted their methods to surmount the problems brought about by world conditions and, may I suggest, in some instances by Governmental action.”
He added: “The year 1968 will go on record as the year with perhaps the best weather in the century. It will also be regarded as a reasonably successful one in the agricultural economy.”
Mr Thompson went on to disclose that several leading attractions had already been arranged for the Society’s 102nd annual show to be held this year from May 21 to May 24.
“We would like to equal, or surpass, last year’s very fine entries of cattle, horses, sheep and pigs, and we would hope to have as great a poultry exhibit in the Harberton poultry hall,” he said.
“This year the Council has arranged to have a goat show and, with the co-operation of the Rural Industries Development Committee and the Worshipful Company of Farriers, a horse-shoeing competition, for the first time ever at Balmoral.”
Mr Thompson revealed that a full programme of horse and pony jumping had been arranged for the arena, and, in addition, military bands and the band of the Royal Ulster Constabulary would take part.
One of the highlights of the show, he said, would be performances each afternoon and during the two late evenings by the horse and motor cycle teams of the Royal Military Police.