Trinity Park is the best place in the county to do business next week, according to the director of the Suffolk Show
- Credit: Archant
The 2015 Suffolk Show is a chance for the industry to make the most of its regional shop window, says show director Bill Baker.
Bill Baker, an arable farmer based at Drinkstone, said in his experience, the annual two day family celebration of food, farming and life in Suffolk, is where “new introductions really do lead to business”.
“We are hearing that some major manufacturers may be pulling out of the national show scene and refocusing their support on county shows,” he said.
People often do not credit introductions with sales, but they do translate, Bill believes.
“The way we have historically done business is changing. It is now happening in a different way. Technological advances in machinery demand a different skillset and new calibre of operator who wants to be involved in influencing key purchasing decisions. Intelligent and advanced, they want to speak directly to the local dealer about aspects of performance.”
It’s a change that Bill welcomes. He is finding that agriculturally-based firms are also participating in show organisers the Suffolk Agricultural Association’s other education initiatives and directly strengthening relationships which started with meeting on their tradestands.
Farm machinery manufacturer CLAAS, which has a base at Bury St Edmunds, has attended the show for many years, increasing its stand space year on year, and more recently, it has become involved with our education projects.
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“It backed the new Farm Discovery Zone (FDZ), a hands-on experience of food and farming by sector introduced at last year’s show, appreciating the value of connecting with the local community,” he said.
“The theme for launch year was cereals and CLAAS’s loan of a Lexion combine harvester also proved a great hit with the public. They also generously invited the winning school to the CLAAS UK headquarters.
“Realising the educational and potential recruitment benefits, it will bring a Jaguar forager harvester and a purpose-built fibreglass model cow which has been customised to demonstrate the process of biogas production – the conversion of feedstuff to energy - in keeping with this year’s theme: Agriculture – supplying your energy.”
The Farm Discovery Zone is not only our showcase for helping people understand more of what farmers do and its importance, but also for attracting the young into the industry, explains Bill.
Young Farmers, Easton and Otley College also offer employers an opportunity to talk about a career in a farming-related industry.
“Other suppliers might also consider the potential benefits of this involvement in subsequent years,” said Bill.
“I for one, and I am not alone among the show team, feel more inclined to tailor my business purchasing decisions around suppliers that are loyal to the show and trying to assist us in raising the profile and importance of the industry.”
Ardleigh-based agricultural contractor Phil Liverton recognised the show was the go-to place for his potential customers, so booked a tradestand for the first time in 2014. He had been in business for 25 years and was keen to expand. The decision, he said, proved highly successful.
“We made some good introductions that have led to new business and as a bonus recruited two new employees,” he said.
Phil has doubled the size of his stand for 2015 and plans to use the show to make an announcement about the business. The added benefit of contact with the association also led to his involvement in a working party where his stump grinder proved vital to work on the Trinity Park clearing day.
O J Neil contracting has exhibited specialist agricultural and groundwork contracting and machinery hire services at the show for the past six years.
Owner Olly Neil said: “We attend for three reasons, first to catch up and strengthen relationships with our existing customers, it is a good place to develop new business within the farming community and we like to support the agricultural side of the show.”
Other non-farming businesses also come to the show to help promote their products.
Ipswich-based Hearing Care Centre will have a pop-up hearing care clinic which it is building and to offer visitors a chance to have their hearing checked free of charge.
“We will have two testing booths constantly on the go and who knows, we might even break some sort of record for the most people tested at one event in a day. People tend to look after their eyes and their teeth, with regular visits to a specialist, but hearing is nearly always forgotten about. We hope to get people thinking about having regular checks as matter of routine every couple of years, because once you lose your hearing, there’s no getting it back,” said business operations and marketing manager Matthew Coward.
“Our other attraction is offering people the chance to have a look inside their own ears. We have a special camera that goes into the ear and magnifies what is seem, up onto a big widescreen TV. You can see the eardrum, ear canal, the bones behind the eardrum and lovely earwax. It’s always a crowd pleaser!”
The Suffolk Show takes place on May 27 and 28. For the latest news and to buy discounted tickets, visit www.suffolkshow.co.uk.