Farmers put their best foot forward

Farmers put their best foot forward

Despite the appalling start to this year’s lambing, one Northumbrian couple are determined to put on a brave face and aim to celebrate their best and strongest survivors at next month’s County Show.

Jackie and Robert Raine, Chief Stewards of the Sheep Section at the County Show, run Town Foot Farm, East Woodburn. Recently saboteurs cut guide ropes on a wind mast on their land, causing it to fall down in the strong winds narrowly missing their flock.   The couple were outraged by the irresponsibility of protesters who could have caused the death of their sheep.

Robert Raine said, “We’ve all had a terrible time, and there are many local farmers who are suffering massive losses. Hill farming is tough at the best of times, but this has been the worst weather we’ve ever seen and follows on from a miserable summer last year. Then, to add insult to injury, our sheep are endangered by vandals.”

Robert went on, “Fortunately we are a resilient bunch of people who still want to celebrate the quality of our stock, and show off what we can achieve in adversity.”

The weather has also delayed land work, and meant animals are being fed long after they’d normally be on grass. Robert Raine explained, “Everything is so behind we feel we’re running to stand still. I know everyone is in the same boat, and all my neighbours are working flat out so I understand how getting your show entry in is at the bottom of the list.

“Come Show Day, with all eyes upon us at the new showground, it would be a big shame if there was poor attendance and Northumberland’s stock didn’t stand up to scrutiny.”

To that end, the Raines are calling to all farmers to put their best foot forward and enter their finest animals at the first County Show to be held in the prestigious new location of Bywell Hall at the end of next month. Schedules are available for all classes for the Show and entries must be received by May 1st. You can get entry forms on the Show’s website, or by calling the office on 01434 604216

The Show is held at Bywell Hall near Stocksfield, on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May. Advance tickets have special discounts Call 0845 230 5177 or go online at