Herts County Show chief steward on 2018’s big show

PUBLISHED: 13:35 10 April 2018

Stuart Roberts on the family farm in Harpenden (photo: National Farmers' Union)

Stuart Roberts on the family farm in Harpenden (photo: National Farmers' Union)

National Farmers Union

Newly-appointed vice president of the National Farmers’ Union, Stuart Roberts, talks about today’s farming challenges and being chief steward at next month’s Hertfordshire County Show

Did you grow up in a farming family?

From the age of 10 I grew up on the family farm, Hammonds End Farm in Harpenden. As a very small child I fondly remember feeding calves and sweeping up grain with my grandfather. After spending almost 20 years in jobs away from the farm, I returned to it in partnership with my mum and dad in 2010.

What challenges are farmers facing today?

Cattle at the county show - the grand parade is Stuart's favourite event (photo: Danny Loo)Cattle at the county show - the grand parade is Stuart's favourite event (photo: Danny Loo)

The biggest challenge at the moment is the uncertainty that has been created by Brexit. The type of deal the UK ends up negotiating with Europe will shape farming for generations to come but what is very clear to me is that the heart of my own business must always be about producing food for British consumers and that is something I know every farmer takes great pride in doing.

How did you get involved with the county show?

I attended my first show aged seven months and have not missed one since. My grandfather was show secretary for over 30 years and I remember being carried across muddy showgrounds to watch prize winning cattle and horses – the grand parade of cattle is still my favourite event. As soon as I was old enough I started stewarding, becoming chief steward in 2010. We have an amazingly dedicated team of stewards who look after all aspects of the event.

What do you love about it?

It provides a fantastic opportunity to bring together both farmers and consumers so they can discuss where food comes from and what is happening on farms in Hertfordshire. The show also provides a great range of entertainment for all ages.

Favourite show memories?

A real highlight occurred last year when I found five minutes free to go and watch my four- year-old son show a calf in the young handler competition. It was something I never got to do myself, although I dearly wanted to. One of the funniest moments was when my late mum, who was show president, was handing out prizes for cattle. Although mum enjoyed farming she had a huge fear of large animals – watching the awkwardness on her face standing beside a one and a half tonne bull, and smiling for the photographer is something that will stay with me for a long time.

What’s new this year?

The show evolves every year and this year the Hertfordshire Farmyard will be bigger – with machines, animals and plenty of farmers to talk to. We also have a new grand ring attraction, the Stampede Stunt Company, and will see the return of the Imps Motorcycle Display Team. 

Hertfordshire County Show takes place on May 26-27. Go to hertsshow.com for ticket details.

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