All set for Farmfest event

Up to 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the first ever Farmfest and BioEnergy ’08 which will take place on Teagasc’s Mellow’s campus in Athenry, Co. Galway on Friday next, June 20th.  Over 400 exhibitors will showcase all aspects of Ireland’s ever-changing countryside in a spectrum of attractive tented villages and exhibition space across its 30-hectare campus. Farmfest and BioEnergy ’08 will see a variety of tented villages and open-space exhibits on dairy, cattle, sheep and tillage enterprises, environmental and sustainability issues including Ireland’s largest ever BioEnergy exhibition. Innovation in the countryside will be a primary focus while equine, health and lifestyle, crafts and rural entrepreneurship will also be at the heart of the event. Education and all aspects of Agriculture training will also feature strongly and representatives of the IT colleges and universities will also be on hand to provide information on their associated enterprise and training courses. Farm Safety is an ever-present issue, exhibits and presentations encouraging vigilance and greater farm safety management will feature prominently throughout the exhibition with many live demonstrations.  Pivotal to Farm Fest & BioEnergy ’08 is the pedigree sheep exhibit which will be the largest seen in Ireland for several years with over 600 animals available. This will certainly be a point of interest as several breed societies hold their national championships around the country. With 40% of the national beef herd within a one-hour drive of Athenry, there will be huge emphasis on breeding for the future, with many live exhibits throughout the grounds and for the first time in 25 years Teagasc will be encouraging people into milk production as milk quota regulations change, advise and information on this subject will be readily available. In addition, representatives from the Department of Agriculture will also be present and using 21 computer points farmers will be in a position to track and review their payments on the spot. In addition advisors will be on hand to offer strategic advise on the future of farming, diversification and farm enterprise.  Other attractions include a farmer’s market with an artisan food arena where visitors can sample and purchase food from over 70 producers and enjoy live cookery demonstrations from An Bord Bia and Eurotoque, panel of chefs. A dedicated children’s area, the Kidz Zone Pagoda complete with a mobile farm featuring, Arnie the Pig, a sheep shearer and wool spinner where children can explore subjects such as lambing season, the effects of climate change and spring growth.  Visitors can also enjoy the non-stop entertainment that is scheduled for the day. It will kick off with the Band of the Western Command followed by an extensive programme of live entertainment including entertainers from Arcana (formerly Macnas), street performers, traditional music, jazz and brass bands including Noel Hill & Alec Finn, Arcady, Mórga and the Galway Gypsy Jazz Quartet. Admission for all is free and Farmfest & BioEnergy ’08 will take place from 10.30am to 6.30pm on Friday 20th June 2008 in the splendid farm surroundings of Teagasc’s Mellow’s Campus in Athenry.  For further information go to www.teagasc.ie