The Balmoral Show brings together a mix of farmers, growers, producers and consumers.

As an educational platform, the Balmoral Show brings many of the leading retailers, food producers, farmers and growers and service sectors together to make the connection from field to plate.

Among the big retailers was M & S who are connected through farming with Linden Foods.

M & S Head of Agriculture, Steve McLean, said this year they were focusing on low-impact production and about farming in harmony with nature as well as decarbonisation.

By making long-term partnerships, they aim to supply outstanding products but also to help reduce their carbon footprint.

By working in partnership with dairy farmers, for example, they work with methane inhibitors and are rolling out a net impact fertiliser created in a novel way using hydrogen to reduce carbon footprint.

This type of fertiliser also shows improved yields. The dairy farmers contracted to them have a 22 per cent less carbon footprint than non-M & S suppliers.

On the beef side, among their successful products are the Wagyu beef and AA beef cuts.

At Balmoral Show, M & S recognised the work of some of their outstanding farmer suppliers through the Select Farm Awards.

One of these was the Emerging Talent Award, which went to James Robinson from Clogher.

In June, 2023, James’ family farm established an egg enterprise comprising two barns, stocking 32,000 free range hens in total.

James – now 23 – has been pivotal in this development since the project started in the summer of 2022, working tirelessly to make it a reality, and is now managing his first flock of laying hens.

“I’ve always had an interest in farming and after graduating from university I knew I wanted to become involved in the family farm.

“We thought an egg laying unit would work well alongside the existing dairy farm,” said James.

“With a number of small modifications, I can now pretty much do everything to run both hen houses successfully. Going forward, we plan on adding additional egg laying units.”

At the ASDA pavilion, where consumers were sampling food products, Joe McDonald, Head of Corporate Affairs, explained they attend the major shows across the UK and feature their local suppliers, giving them a showcase for their products.