NFU Student Ambassador, Gethin Johnson, writes about his experience at the Lord Mayor's Show and the fantastic opportunity to showcase British food and farming. He writes...
Around 3 million television viewers and more than 500,000 spectators lined the streets of London this weekend to watch this years Lord Mayor's show. This was the 804th year of the show and heading up the front of the 140 float procession were the two Massey Ferguson tractors of the British farming float. This year, British farming was given an even greater prominence at the show as the new Lady Mayoress, Hilary Russell, led the parade driving one of the new Massey Fergusons. The float itself was made up to resemble a traditional farmers' market stall and was stocked full of a wide variety of fresh British produce sourced from all areas of the United Kingdom.
In addition to the market stall, the float also had representatives from a variety of companies within the industry including ten of us young farmers which are part of the new NFU student and young farmer ambassador programme launched this year. Although the ten of us are from all areas of the UK and from a vast variety of sectors within the industry, we all have one passion that runs through us all - that being farming.
Being part of the procession was a fantastic opportunity for us all to showcase British food and farming and also iron out some recent misconceptions about the industry among the British public. Given that it was such an uncommon sight to see a tractor driving down the streets of London passed landmarks such as The Royal Courts and St Paul’s Cathedral, it was certain that we’d get plenty of attention from the crowds along the route. Some of the crowd there on the day may not have even seen a tractor in the flesh before, so it was good to be able to raise awareness of the machinery and people that not only provide them with safe, traceable and affordable food but also are responsible for protecting the environment and its wildlife. Along the route, the crowds clapped and cheered us along as we made our way around the one and a half mile route and it was a pleasure to see so much support for farmers from all age groups spectating.
To summarise the whole weekend into one word it would have to be phenomenal. It was a phenomenal opportunity for myself, a young farmer from rural West Wales to be part of such an impressive event hosted in the heart of London. A phenomenal achievement for all involved in the British farming float to build a float that's capable of capturing the fantastic work that farmers do and bringing it to the streets of London to display to millions worldwide and finally a phenomenally positive future for the industry. It is more important than ever that the public back British farming and the support and encouragement we all received from them during the procession was uplifting. With such a positive response to agriculture in such an urban setting, it makes me hopeful for the future of the industry nationwide.