On Friday last week, I attended the Kent Show at the county showground in Detling. The excellent weather brought out large grounds, which was good news for the exhibitors and the Kent Agricultural Society. The real highlight of the show is provided by the livestock, who have been carefully prepared to be at their best when exhibited. Kent has one of the largest young farmers sections in the country, which is great news for the future of agriculture in the county. The young farmers and students of agricultural courses at schools and colleges across Kent work hard all year to prepare for the show. I was particularly pleased to visit the students from Brockhill Park school’s farm who were showing their livestock. Once again, they had an excellent show winning top prizes for their beef cattle, lambs and pigs. I would like to send my congratulations to all of the school’s staff and students who were at the show, on their success.
The Kent Show also provided the chance for a glimpse of the history of farming in the county, in the form of Oliver Trowell’s beautifully hand written and illustrated book, ‘Before the Combines Came’, published by Manor Farm. Oliver has lived in East Brabourne since 1934, and his book details rural life in the village from that time until the early 1950s, focusing on the farms and homes along The Street, between the church and the Five Bells pub. As an accomplished artist, and former Art Master at King’s Canterbury School, Oliver’s illustrations vividly bring back to life, the world he knew, before mechanisation changed the character of the rural landscape. Oliver was at the Kent show selling and signing copies of his book to benefit the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
The Brexit negotiations are one of the major topics of interest for the farming and fishing communities in Kent, and I was pleased that my parliamentary colleague, Dr Therese Coffey, who is also a Minister at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was able to join the guests, and discussions, at the President’s lunch at the Kent Show. Before the election, Therese had also met with me and a delegation representing the local inshore fishing fleet in Hythe Bay. On that occasion, we were discussing the importance of making sure that we get the balance right between marine conservation and the need for a sustainable local fishing industry. I am pleased to see as well that the government has proposed a new Fisheries Bill which will restore British control of our territorial waters when we leave the European Union and with it the Common Fisheries Policy.
On Friday evening, I was pleased to be able to join the members of the Hythe Arts Society, for the opening of their summer exhibition at the Tin Tabernacle in the town. Once again, there was a wide range of work, showcasing the different interests and style of the artists, and all of a very high standard