The Balmoral Show at the Maze site near Lisburn will go from strength-to-strength with the help of a new sponsorship deal with Ulster Bank, the Show’s organiser says.
Ulster Bank, which has been the principal sponsor of the three-day agri-food and family event since 2009, has agreed a new three-year deal that will see it remain the key sponsor of the Show until at least 2018.
Making the announcement, RUAS Chief Executive, Colin McDonald, said that the agreement is a major boost for Balmoral Show as it seeks to continue to build on its successful move to its new location.
“Ulster Bank has been a fantastic sponsor of the Balmoral Show and its continued support will play a central role in helping us develop the event as a fitting showcase for the agri-food sector and a premier family occasion,” Mr McDonald said.
“There is so much potential at Balmoral Park to expand and enhance the Show. We are delighted to have Ulster Bank’s support, as a strategic partner and a passionate supporter of the local agri-food sector, to help us capitalise on the possibilities,” he added.
According to the organisation’s agri business manager Cormac McKervey committing to a further three year sponsorship of Balmoral Show should be seen as a strong vote of confidence from Ulster Bank in the future of local agriculture.
“A number of farming sectors are under significant pressure at the present time,” he said.
“Dairy farmers, in particular, are dealing with the knock-on effect of extremely weak international markets.
“But there is little doubt that matters will come back on to a more even keel in the not too distant future.
“It is also evident that the farming and food sectors will remain at the heart of the local economy.
“And Ulster Bank, in turn, continues to be fully committed to supporting our customers in these important industries.”
McKervey pointed out that volatility will remain a key challenge for agriculture as a whole.
“This has been a new experience for dairy, cattle and sheep farmers, but not so for producers in the pig, poultry and mushroom industries.
“As a consequence, we already have role models within agriculture from which producers operating across the entire gamut of farming-related activities can learn.”
McKervey pointed to a future for agriculture in Northern Ireland within which market management tools, such as long term contracts and hedging, will play a much more important role than is currently the case.
“Measures of this nature will give farmers the opportunity to develop their businesses on a much more strategic basis.
“Fundamentally, we need a much more cohesive agri food supply chain.”
Referring specifically to Balmoral Show McKervey said that the event is a key platform vehicle for the promotion of all that is good about farming and food to the general public.
“And obviously, we want to be part of that.
“Our direct association with the show also provides us with an opportunity to put something back into the farming sectors.”