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Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD Attends the Virginia Show

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today attended the Virginia Show 2013. The show hosts the prestigious 30th Diageo Baileys Champion Cow Competition.

Speaking at the event, the Minister said ‘The Virginia show is now in its 72nd year, and is the highlight of the year for the community in the North East and Border Region. Over 470 competition classes are held on the day ranging from livestock to garden produce and home industries. It is an excellent family day out and with a host of features such as cookery demonstrations, artisan food markets and children’s entertainment laid on. I would like to congratulate all the local primary producers and farm businesses who are the foundation of the drive to increase exports from the Agri-food sector in the years ahead.'

Minister Coveney continued ‘The annual Diageo Baileys Champion Cow Competition held in conjunction with Glanbia Ingredients Ireland is a highlight of the show. Pedigree breeders have prepared for months for this very prestigious competition. The production of Baileys from milk supplied from 1,500 carefully selected family farms is a phenomenal success story. Irish dairy farmers are the cornerstone of the success of Baileys and I commend the unique partnership of all involved.’

The Minister added ‘The unique partnership between industry and Government, working through Food Harvest 2020, aims to increase the value of exports from the agri-food sector to €12 billion by 2020. Ireland is extending its market reach in a range of product areas, with direct benefits to farm families in regions such as the North East.

 The Minister referred to the new CAP agreement secured under the Irish Presidency and said that ‘the new CAP is marked by three major advances: greater emphasis on environmental sustainability, new and enhanced supports for young farmers and the phasing out of production quotas.   The changes mark a useful and progressive reform of the CAP making it fit for purpose to 2020.  The changes also are consistent with the smart, green, growth objectives of Food Harvest 2020.’

The Minister concluded by acknowledging that the staging of the show was a massive community effort and wished the organizing committee, exhibitors, sponsors and all the visitors an enjoyable day.

Date Released: 22 August 2013