We hear from George Coles from the Red Oak Farm as he attends the Countryfile Live event in Oxfordshire. George give us a great insight in to the event and how it is worthwhile for our Breed to be involved with the event, giving a great opportunity to communicate to the end user exactly what we do! Hear from George below as we ask him about the event:
What is Countryfile Live and what was your role at the event?
“Countryfile Live is a large country fair which is held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, this year it was held from the 2nd -5th of August. The event attracted over 120,000 people over the course of the 4 days. It is important to note that Countryfile Live is not an agricultural show and is not advertised as one. We were there as part of the “Ask the Farmer” section in the “Passion for Farming/Adams Farm Area”, I took Red Oak Red Mayflower one of our young heifers from Argentina as well as some of my Simmentals. Ben from Glympton Estates also came along with a Black Angus Cow and Calf. Whilst we were there we showed our cattle in the ring and held a Q&A with the public. The idea and concept of the “Ask the Farmer” section is to get to know real life farmers and to talk directly to members of the public and to answer any questions they may have. We got a number of questions from the public, shown below are just some of the questions we were asked:
– I did not know they were red and black
– Why is the black a lot bigger
– Why did you bring them from Argentina
– How does using embryos work
– What is a X animal
– Where can I buy Angus beef from
– And the best of all – How do you tell a heifer from a bullock!”
How can this event help people looking to get involved with the Breed?
“Some farmers may not be fans of the BBC and program Countryfile, however this event is the only event I know where the majority of the people are not from farming backgrounds, allowing us the opportunity to educate them about exactly what we do.
This was my second year at Countryfile and I love seeing that I am able to make a difference to the people I meet. Last year I met the Waker family and was able to help Alfie to get started on his road in agriculture. Since introducing him to the Youth Development Program he has gone from strength to strength and now his brother Charlie is also starting to get involved, I still see them when I can and am in regular contact with them. This year I met another family who luckily live close to me, I am in the process of helping their daughter to carry out her dream of milking a cow. Throughout the 4 days we talk to hundreds of people about what we do and how we care for our animals. It’s also nice that we are able to communicate to consumers who may also have opposing views and we are able to shed light on some issues they may raise.”
Is there anything else you were involved in at the show?
“Each day I was involved in a question and answer session with a vet from Hook Norton Vets, I took a cow out into the ring and we discussed everything from dog control and poo issues, health of the animals, new technology we use including my thermal imaging cameras, we even treated two calves who had the start of poorly eyes due to fly strike. We also had Jack Walton carry out a fake auction each day to show how pedigree cattle are sold, my Simmy reached just below 200,000 and the black Angus achieved just over 200,000 (if only!)”
What do you think is most useful about attending the show?
“This event really does give us the chance to shout about how good we are at what we do to the end user. I was interviewed by a local radio and said the following “it does not matter if you buy a burger from McDonalds or steak from Tesco, without the general public on board with us we have no customer”. This highlights the importance of communication and that we need to do all we can to communicate this to the consumer!”
We would like to thank George for taking the time to talk to us and we definitely think this is a great opportunity for us to communicate to the end consumer exactly what we do. George will be there next year and it would be great if we could get more people involved from the Society! Feel free to get in touch if you are interested and once again a massive thank you to George for giving us such a good insight in to his experience at the Countryfile Live show.
Other images from the event are shown below: