Thank you Farmers

Recent weeks may have been challenging, but we’ve also had the joy of seeing our communities coming together to celebrate heroes of our Society - NHS staff and Key Workers.

As George Eustice MP declared; “Farmers are the hidden heroes of this Covid-19 crisis.” So we thought we’d start this latest edition of the Herald Express by sharing 5 things that make our farmers heroes and why we should be backing British farming:

1. QUALITY - We can trace our British farmed food back to a Red Tractor Farm


2. EMPLOYMENT - British farming employs over 475,000 people

3. ECONOMY - British farmers help to create our successful economy contributing over £122 billion in economic value

4. AONB - Farmers help to manage our beautiful Countryside

5. FOOD AND DRINK - Homegrown British food and drink tastes amazing!

At the Showground

Newbury Showground remains closed for events, we are still using the grounds to support the local community, local businesses and carry out important maintenance work.

Since ‘lockdown’ has been in place we’ve been delighted to offer the Showground as a safe space for pupils of our local Prior’s Court School to use for exercise and to enjoy outdoor activities.


Home Learning

With so many of us home working, home schooling or having been furloughed, now is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill, new knowledge or new insights into any subject of interest. We thought we’d share some great online resources to inspire you:

Showcase Your Business

Having no show shouldn’t stop you from showcasing your business. This is why we’re giving all businesses and Trade Stand Exhibitors who would traditionally exhibit at our Show, a limited opportunity to showcase and advertise their business or enterprise in the Herald Express.

We’re offering Full and Half-page of ad spaces within this monthly newsletter at extremely competitive rates. Email us at to find out more.


Social Distancing, Not Socially Distant

As a Society, we’re always looking at ways we can enhance the experience of our Members and Volunteers who contribute so much every year.

Whether it’s through the benefits of membership or in how we engage and communicate with you, it’s important to us that you feel a part of this journey we are all part of. Part of this is providing more ways and opportunities to engage with you and share news with you before we share it anywhere else.

This in mind, we’ll soon be launching two Facebook groups - one for members, and one for Section Heads.

These social online communities will be a place where we’ll be able to share updates, give you the opportunity to share your good news stories, and share with you important news before it goes live in the public domain. We’ll let you know more specifics very soon. 


Virtual Meetings


With meetings and social gatherings not possible due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, conducting meetings in virtual environments such as ‘Zoom’ or ‘Teams’. The Society recommends that Show sections press forward with Committee meetings using virtual environments until guidelines are relaxed.

Down on the Farm with Michael Bowden

What a difference a month of fine weather makes to our ability to catch up with long overdue drilling of crops.

We have all spent long hours “socially isolating” on our tractors. Initially cultivating wet soils, and as they have dried we have been planting field beans, blue peas and spring barley. I have generally been pleased with the seedbeds that we have made, and along with the moisture and warm sunshine the seeds have very quickly germinated and begun growing. All the newly emerged crops have been sprayed to control as many weeds as possible, as they compete with the crop and absorb nutrients in the soil destined to improve the yield.


Our 2 fields of Miscanthus or ‘Elephant Grass’, have been cut and baled about a month later than last year due to the prolonged flooding that we experienced. Parts of both fields had to be left uncut as they were still wet.

These bales will be stored in the barn until Oct/Nov when they will be taken to a Power Station to be used as a ‘Renewable Energy’ source in producing “Green” electricity.

This year my Office had been taken over by my wife Mandy, who was working from home for the Watermill Theatre. She was contacting an enormous number of customers who had booked and paid to see shows, which were ultimately cancelled and needed refunds.

The only crop that we managed to sow in the Autumn was Winter Barley, and it hasn’t liked the extremely wet winter. Most plants have survived but are looking small and weak, so the yield potential is not good and we will try not to spend much on these fields as we will not see a return.

All the straw and muck removed from the beef cattle yards over the winter has been spread on the fields ready to grow maize. No extra ‘bagged’ fertiliser will be applied as this will supply enough nutrients for the crop. The land has been cultivated and is now waiting to be drilled.

Mandy and I have joined in with the weekly ‘Clapping for the NHS’ and it was encouraging, after the first 2 weeks of silence, to hear many others in our village doing the same. Lets hope we can all get back to normal, as soon as it is safe and practicable.

Leading by Example During COVID-19


COVID-19 hasn’t stopped our Board and CEO from setting the example from the front with their most recent board meeting taking place via video conferencing app, Zoom.

While there is no replacement for meeting in person, apps such as Zoom and Teams have certainly made it easier to ‘v-eet’ remotely so important discussions can be had and decisions made.


Audited Accounts and AGM Update

Part of our responsibilities under governance as a charity is to publish audited financial accounts each year. Traditionally, these accounts would be published before our Society’s AGM (originally scheduled for 17 March 2020).

This year, due to the impact of the global COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, we have taken guidance from our Accountants and Auditors, James Cowper Kreston and delayed signing off the final Audited Accounts.

The reason for this guidance and delay is to allow the Society Board and Senior Management to review any disclosures within the accounts that may have been affected by the ongoing social, health and economic climate. We will provide further updates on the matter as they develop with complete transparency.

The publishing of Audited Accounts is indelibly linked to the Society AGM. The Board and Senior Management are continuing to monitor government guidance on Social Distancing and best practice with regards to the Annual General Meeting and will look to confirm a date to hold the next AGM as soon as possible.

Potato Planting Update

Last month we told you about the wonderfully fun potato planting workshops we hosted welcoming local schools to learn about the journey potatoes make from planting to plate. We know you’ll be pleased to know that the potatoes are doing just great and have been loving the sunny weather!

Did You Know?


Balloons cannot be steered so they travel in the direction of the wind which varies at different altitudes. Direction can be changed slightly by burning to go up or allowing the balloon to cool to go down and catch different air streams at different heights.



Letters from Lockdown

We’re fast approaching the next printed edition of The Herald and we’d love to hear from you about how you’re keeping safe and entertained during lockdown.

Please send us your pictures and stories and we’ll publish then in the Herald: