First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened the annual New Deer show on Saturday, July 19 and announced £17,500 Scottish Government funding to support the staging of the event in the Year of Homecoming.
During his opening remarks, the First Minister went on to praise rural events such as the New Deer Show for the role they play in enriching community spirit and supporting local businesses, such as the regional food and drink sector.
The First Minister said: “The New Deer Show is a much loved and eagerly anticipated local event that the whole wider community loyally turn up for year in year out and thoroughly enjoy.
“The competition element – be it best of class, shearing, or the young farmers’ programme – not only encourages healthy rivalry but more importantly, a sense of community solidarity.
“Rural events the length and breadth of Scotland are the jewel in the Year of Homecoming crown, the unsung heroes promoting our heritage and traditional way of life.
“They also support many regional business who come along to sell their produce, such as our exceptional local food and drink entrepreneurs. That is why the Scottish Government has granted New Deer £17,500 to help stage the 2014 event.
“More specifically, as part of the Homecoming 2014 programme, we have also allocated up to £250,000 to enhance the food and drink element at a number of events across the year.
“Our magnificent natural larder continues to attract huge interest abroad and helps to market Scotland to the world as a Land of Food and Drink - an important ingredient as we encourage people to celebrate their Scottish heritage during Homecoming.
“Our local communities play an integral part in the food and drink industry and it’s great to be able to support them by bringing events to their areas.
“This is especially important as we look ahead to our 2015 Year of Food and Drink when we will build on the activity taking place during the Homecoming Year to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland’s quality produce to our people and visitors alike.”
Drew Wilson, New Deer Show President, said: “2014 is the 167th year of the New Deer Show and we have the very best of the region on display here.
“Aberdeenshire produces some of the finest livestock in Scotland that is enjoyed both locally and internationally - from farm to fork.
“There is huge community support for the New Deer Show and the funding from the Scottish Government will help us make it even better, we’re already thinking ahead to 2015 and the Year of Food and Drink - and where better to showcase Aberdeenshire’s excellent produce than right here at the New Deer Show.”
As well as showcasing the best of Scottish produce at the events, the £250,000 fund is providing event organisers with expert support in developing their food and drink offering through a series of one-to-one sessions and workshops, delivered by food and drink consultants, Experiencing Scotland.
These workshops, took place in Aberdeen, Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh, will ensure organisers benefit from expert advice and ideas for including fresh, local and seasonal produce from quality Scottish suppliers.