Food security key message for Kent County Show
by business editor Trevor Sturgess
The challenge of global food production and shortages should be
a key part of the Kent County Show, its new boss has declared.
Arable farmer Kevin Attwood has taken over from George Jessel as
chairman of the Kent County Agricultural Society, the show
Speaking at the Detling Showground, Mr Attwood said he wanted to
raise the issues of food production, security, quality and
"All are important and perhaps haven't been given their due
weight and consideration in the past," he said.
"When one looks at food production around the world and at food
shortages, clearly agriculture in the UK and Europe is going to be
something that strategically matters to us."
The show was an important way of connecting urban dwellers to
the land, he said.
"Anything that brings people from more urban walks of life and
shows them some element of farming and agriculture as well as the
landscape and the rest of the things it delivers, is great for
The Doddington-based farmer - he also owns farms in Wye and
Pluckley - said he would build on the changes made by Mr Jessel
during his six years as chairman.
That included completion of "at least the first phase" of a
planned £4million facelift for the Kent Pavilion.
As for the weather, the rain that dampened the 2012 show - it
made a £600,000 loss - was the sort of risk that farmers faced all
"The three-day show is always going to be at risk from the
weather, and we've just had the most exceptional year of rain and
the most exceptional three days of wet weather. The odds of that
occurring again are probably remote but you can’t do anything about
the weather. Just like farming."
He paid tribute to Mr Jessel for "standing back with good grace
and allowing the baton to pass over".
In another tribute to Mr Jessel's contribution, Lady Astor of
Hever, KCAS president, told members at the annual meeting: "What a
man! What a colourful character!
"It seems to me that when God was handing out personalities He
gave George a triple dose, making all those around him appear
rather grey beneath his large shadow."
His "Wild West" hair had "a personality all of its own. Ever
wonder where Boris Johnston got the idea for uncontrolled hair and
a large personality? From George Jessel, of course."
She presented him with the President's Award and a Life