Speaker Michael Egan, Teagasc Moorepark addressing farmers at the Teagasc grassland demonstration at the 2018 National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore. (Picture: O'Gorman Photography)

The National Ploughing Association (NPA) have cancelled the National Ploughing Trade Exhibition due to take place in Ballintrane, Fenagh, Co Carlow from September 15th to 17th, but still hope that there will be an opportunity to run the ploughing competitions behind closed gates due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The NPA Managing Director, Anna May McHugh, said that “the Executive reached this very difficult decision to cancel the Trade Exhibition as public health and safety is our foremost priority given the current global pandemic.

“With visitor attendance last year of 297,000 and up to 1,700 exhibitors, we had too many concerns about how we could implement social distancing and the potential risk of bringing together people from all over the country. 

“However, we are still hoping that we may be able to run the National Ploughing Competitions behind closed gates and that situation will be closely reviewed over the next number of weeks,” she said. 

Huge economic impact

Obviously this is very disappointing news for the hundreds of exhibitors that have already booked exhibition space, but NPA will be making full refunds over the next few weeks.  

With an annual economic impact reported to be in the region of €45 million, the loss of this event is massively significant to the Irish economy, however the NPA are looking at the positive that 2021 will mark the 90th year of the NPA and Ireland will be hosting the World Ploughing Contest in tandem with the National on 15th-16th-17th -18th September – venue to be confirmed.