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Nidderdale Show: Past, present and future at ‘magic’ last one-day show of the season

Young and old, new and bygone, the faces and exhibits at Nidderdale Show are a reminder that farming is not an industry that stands still.

Even if the unstable pre-Brexit process has temporarily paralysed the decision-making of some working in agriculture, this annual one-day show always offers up memories of how the industry has adapted to change before.

Judging of the Swaledale sheep at 'Nidderdale Show. Pictures by Bruce Rollinson.

Judging of the Swaledale sheep at 'Nidderdale Show. Pictures by Bruce Rollinson.

Next to the latest tractors and 4x4s at today’s one-day show at Bewerley Park was an array of vintage kit, from old railway milk churns to a hand-powered winnowing machine once operated by working children to separate the best corn from the ‘seconds’.

The next evolutionary stage for the industry, as the Government gets set to phase out direct subsidies to farmers by 2028, could prove stark for some and for now many local farmers are thinking twice about their investment decisions.

Trevor Stoney, the show’s honorary director and a local farmer, said: “The uncertainty over the future seems to be holding them back.”

Any foreboding over the future was not evident in another buoyant atmosphere in the show field however. Mr Stoney declared it had been a “magic day” which left him with a feeling comparable to “waking up on Christmas Day”.

Dairy Champion, Aireburn Tequila Cask with Georgina Fort of High Bracken Farm, Silsden.

Dairy Champion, Aireburn Tequila Cask with Georgina Fort of High Bracken Farm, Silsden.

For Kevin Wilson it was a day of great joy too. The farmer from Blubberhouses - a regular exhibitor in the show’s sheep pens - picked up his first interbreed title at Nidderdale with a four-year-old homebred Dalesbred after an intense contest in which judge John Geldard gave particular scrutiny to a Scottish Blackface and a Suffolk. “It’s a great highlight for us as a family,” Mr Wilson said.

The champion dairy beast was Rebecca Stapleton’s Jersey, Aireburn Tequila Cash, shown by Georgina Fort of Silsden who was making her first appearance at the show for 13 years.

Meanwhile, Adrian and Penny Johnson from Yearsley took the supreme beef title with their two-year-old homebred Aberdeen Angus heifer, Yearsley Royal Lady.

Chloe Roberts, from Barnard Castle, during the Highland Cattle judging at 'Nidderdale Show.

Chloe Roberts, from Barnard Castle, during the Highland Cattle judging at 'Nidderdale Show.