HRH COUNTESS OF WESSEX ATTENDS ROYAL SMITHFIELD MEMBERS COUNTRY MEETING
Royal Smithfield Club Members were delighted to welcome their President, HRH The Countess of Wessex, to the opening day of the charity’s Members Country Meeting held 26-29 June in and around Ludlow, Shropshire, and the Earl of Plymouth Estate.
During the Annual Meeting of Club Members, Chairman William Bedell thanked The Countess for her support of Club. Recent initiatives have included the Smithfield Forum which was launched at the beginning of the year to provide a united and independent voice for all stakeholders in the red meat supply chain.
His presentation on the Club’s activity over the past year also focused on the success of the Smithfield Beef Ribs & Saddle of Lamb competitions as well as the Club’s support of the National Young Stars event, and its Next Generation delegate to the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference.
True to its theme of ‘Field to Plate’, the first day focused on a behind-the-scenes tour of the impressive and award-winning Ludlow Farmshop - part of the Earl of Plymouth Estate - which prides itself on the fact that 80% of its produce comes from Shropshire and its surrounding counties. The estate extends to 8,000 acres with the 60-strong party of guests able to take sight of the 300-cow suckler herd and 320-head dairy herd which sit alongside a 2,200 head sheep flock.
All of the beef, lamb, pork and milk sold in the shop, café, hotel and restaurant comes off the farm with over half of the products in the Farmshop made in its own artisan production units that surround the shop floor.
A further highlight was the after-dinner speech given by Lord Digby Jones, former Director-General of the CBI and Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment.
Day Two saw a visit to ABP Beef (UK)’s flagship facility at Ellesmere, Shropshire – described by their host, Managing Director Tom Kirwan, as a ‘world-leading facility’ in terms of its advanced, efficient and energy sustainable beef processing operation. The plant employs over 800 people and receives cattle from more than 2,000 farmers - mainly from Shropshire and Cheshire in England - and from Powys in Wales.
Giving a talk after dinner that evening was Harry Huddart, 25, Assistant Farm Manager of Beeswax Dyson Farming, Nocton, Lincs. Harry was the Club’s Next Generation delegate to the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference in Edmonton, Canada, last autumn.