The Royal Highland Show, taking place over 22nd-25th June at Ingliston Showground, is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s iconic events. Over the four days, the Show attracts nearly 200,000 visitors from across the world, each with a different background but with a common interest in all things farming and rural affairs – just like us!
On Thursday and Friday the showground is a hive of meetings and networking activities; we certainly make the most of these opportunities and meet with MSPs from all parties, commercial leaders and farmers in particular.
Indeed, many seek us out to get informed about the latest research or gain that extra bit of advice; while our scientists and educators gain real insight into the issues people face every day and the time to think about the ways we can help even more.
By the weekend, the showground fills with families and we have great fun finding new ways to engage the young and old with science. This year is no exception. Why not join us to learn about human health by crawling through a giant gut, get inspired by forestry and take control of a forest harvester simulator or get some recipe tips while watching the Kilted Chef Craig Wilson and one of our scientists cook up a storm.
SEFARI will kick things off on Thursday morning with an event focusing on the role science plays in building growth in the rural economy. The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Mr Fergus Ewing MSP will speak about how science and innovation can help the food and drink industry in particular.
The James Hutton Institute marquee is located on avenue Q, where you can found out about crop science, food safety, land management, new farming technologies and much more. On Thursday afternoon, they host a reception to celebrate the life and work of James Hutton – one of Scotland’s greatest ever scientists – while on Friday they showcase the Best Soil in Show prizes.
If you have the kids with you then you won’t need to walk far from there to find the RHET Discovery Centre. Here you can find out if you, or your kids, have the guts to crawl through a model of the intestines and find out more about the diverse bacteria that live there.
If all that crawling around makes you hungry then The Rowett Institute’s Dr Alex Johnstone will be joined by Kilted Chef Craig Wilson and together they will show you how to cook some delicious and nutritious food. This takes place on Friday between 11am-2pm in the President’s Marquee.
The Moredun Research Institute marquee can be found on 7th Avenue and has a history, heritage and futuristic theme. Visit them for advice or information about livestock health and new techniques for animal disease detection. Scientists from EPIC will also be at hand to discuss biosecurity and its role in parasite control. On Friday at 4pm a new Biosecurity animation will be launched followed by a wine reception.
Close by on 7th avenue SRUC have a busy pavilion packed with activities for all ages and levels of knowledge about farming and rural affairs. This includes cutting edge farming technology and animal welfare research, how their research supports food & drink production and supply in Scotland and, more internationally, the challenges faced by Malawian farmers and how this compares with Scottish farming. If that’s not enough they will even let you loose on a forest harvester training simulator! Friday morning sees the return of their very popular Women in Agriculture event.
This is our first year attending the Show branded as SEFARI but it has long been a firm favourite in our calendars, come rain or shine, so come see us!
Andrew Kelloe and Dr Michelle Wilson-Chalmers ¦ SEFARI Research and Communications Officers