Several times, I’ve had the opportunity to go to the Royal Welsh Show near Builth Wells and it’s always a treat to get a free field ticket and wander around the stalls and look at the animals. It is a bit of a challenge to find something new to say, though, because usually the brief is to celebrate Welsh rural life – something I don’t really know much about.
Coming here to the Royal Welsh Show is like having access to a time machine.
The best of the past is all around us with celebrated families and farms still using some of the traditional methods. One of my favourite events every time I come here is the sheep shearing where I admire the young bloods doing so well what their forefathers did before them for generations.
As for the present, despite the challenges of modern day farming, the Show is a tremendous celebration of all that is good about Welsh country life today. For many who come here this is an annual highlight when there is a chance not only to compete but also to compare and to see what best practice is these days. To get up to date with the latest way of doing things and where possible to take ideas and equipment back home to put them into practice.
What of the future? On my first visit here some years back I went home with a couple of low-energy light bulbs they had been giving away as free samples. I’d never seen anything like them before but pretty soon they were everywhere. The Royal Welsh Show is a place to wander round the stands and imagine the future as some of the best minds in Wales show their wares and invite us to buy into their vision.
This is especially true about the Green issues that are such a pressing concern for many of us. This time last year the Prime Minister, David Cameron came here and unveiled plans for a multi-million pound scheme to develop initiatives to solve agricultural problems. Some of that money is at work now in Wales improving bread products for diabetics or working to decrease food waste by the control of fruit flies in Asia and Africa. Welsh plant scientists are working with that funding to develop rice crops more resistant to major diseases. But there is still so much more to be done.
“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” This is what God said to Adam and Eve while they were still trusted to look after the Garden of Eden in the Bible book of Genesis. It is not a mandate to exploit and despoil the globe but instead it’s an invitation to good stewardship of the creation. Here at the Royal Welsh Show we can see how our forebears looked after their world and we can admire how our contemporaries are getting on with the same task. With a bit of imagination, perhaps we can begin to discern how things will be done by generations yet to be born. Even if we are not involved in agriculture ourselves, maybe we can adopt some of those practices right now.