Country skills at Royston ploughing match

PUBLISHED: 18:56 19 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:01 20 February 2013

Breakfast cereal company Jordans is hosting a charity ploughing match in Royston October 23 to raise funds for The Prince's Countryside Fund.

Breakfast cereal company Jordans is hosting a charity ploughing match in Royston on October 23to raise funds for The Princes Countryside Fund.

The brainchild of HRH The Prince of Wales, The Princes Countryside Fund was launched in July with the aim of supporting rural communities and improving the long-term viability of the British countryside and its rural communities.

For the past 25 years the British farmers who supply Jordans have been working hard to ensure their farms are havens for wildlife, through the Conservation Grade, Nature Friendly, farming scheme. The Jordans family has been milling in Bedfordshire since 1855 and through supporting The Princes Countryside Fund and running this ploughing match, they hope to help reconnect people with the countryside and rural traditions.

The Royston & Buntingford District Ploughing Match is one of the highlights of Hertfordshires rural calendar. Competitors are judged on the straightness of their furrows and the uniformity of each row. Penalties are issued if the furrows are too deep, or if contestants fail to finish ploughing their allotted plot within the specified time.

This year the event is hosted by Jordans supplier and Nature-Friendly farmer Ralph Parker. The match will feature a special Conservation Grade category for other nature-friendly farmers supplying grain to Jordans and well-known brands, including Allinsons flour and bread. Nature Friendly Conservation Grade farms are typically home to five times more wildlife than conventional farms.

Jordans co-founder and pioneer of the Conservation Grade farming movement, Bill Jordan, comments, 'Rural skills such as ploughing are a vital part of our national culture and I am delighted to see that so many people are interested in keeping these alive. Traditional events like ploughing matches are a great way of getting people to connect with the countryside. Farming lies at the heart of our community here in Bedfordshire and thats why were pleased to support HRH the Prince of Wales in promoting the Princes Countryside Fund.'

Ploughing matches have always been an important part of life in arable farming areas and are becoming more popular amongst young farmers and thousands of countryside lovers.

Food campaigner and supporter of the countryside, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is equally enthusiastic, 'Id urge anyone with an interest in preserving the countryside to celebrate rural skills like ploughing. We need to ensure that we maintain the character and culture of the English countryside for generations to come.'

NFU President Peter Kendall said, 'Every day farmers and growers blend traditional and cutting edge skills in the pursuit of food production and ploughing is a good example. Just like his predecessors, today's tractor driver needs to be a skilled ploughman but he also needs to be able to operate technologically advanced equipment that in turn increases efficiency and productivity.'

The Royston District Ploughing Match takes place between 9am and 1pm on Saturday, 23 October at Highfield Farm, Royston Road, Hertfordshire SG8 9NJ and admittance is free. For more information, visit:
For information on the Princes Countryside Fund, visit

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