‘Agricultural societies and shows: where do we go from here?’

27 September 2016

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society is very proud to have amongst its ranks a recently published Nuffield Scholar.

Assistant Chief Executive, Aled Jones was given the Young Nuffield (Bob Matson) Award and became a Nuffield Scholar in 2015. Since then, Aled has spent the past 18 months travelling the world and conducting research for his report.

Drawing from his experiences from visiting shows, societies and other agricultural organisations throughout China, England, France, Northern Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, United States of America and, of course, Wales, Aled has written a comprehensive report entitled ‘Agricultural societies and shows: where do we go from here?’.

Key travel statistics

The Royal Welsh Agricultural Society has always been a key supporter of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, an organisation that awards individuals with life changing opportunities, with a view to developing agricultural sector leaders and innovators of the future, and sponsors a scholar each year. However, this is the first time that a member of the society’s staff has become a scholar and conducted a research project alongside their other working commitments.

Aled’s project will benefit the society, and indeed many other agricultural societies across the world, hugely when it comes to planning for the future. Amongst a host of recommendations, the report has a number of key messages:

  • Agricultural societies and shows play an important role in promoting farming and food production to the wider public

  • Sound financial management and business planning is key to secure the long-term sustainability of societies and shows

  • Strategic planning and proper governance structures is fundamental to the effective delivery of charitable aims

  • A society is more than just a show – and people need to know about it

  • Clarity of purpose and regular communication is required

  • Greater focus and resources will be placed on delivering education to both children and the consumer

  • Technology, data analytics and digital marketing will play an important role in the way societies and shows conduct their business in future

  • People are one of our most important resources and societies and shows need to invest to grow future leaders

Iowa State Fair
Aled Jones and Marla Calico (President and CEO of IAFE) at the Ohio State Fair
(L-R) Phil Franklin, Morobe Show President, presenting the Champion Bull Award to John Smith, Manager of Ramu Beef, with cattle handler and Judges: Aled Jones and Hayley Bass. Papua New Guinea.
Dairy Cattle Show at the Wisconsin State Fair

“The society has always been committed to encouraging and supporting education and research within the agriculture and land based industries” says Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Chief Executive, Steve Hughson. “We are delighted that, along with our official sponsored Royal Welsh scholars, Aled has undertaken this invaluable piece of research which will undoubtedly benefit the Royal Welsh.”

Aled’s report has already been well received both within the UK and internationally, having been shared with members of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) in the UK and International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) in America. Aled has also been asked to present his research and recommendations at numerous conferences and events, most notably, the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) biennial conference in Singapore this November.

Having published his final report, Aled said: “I would like to thank the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust and the Young Nuffield (Bob Matson) Award for putting their faith in me and my study topic. When I embarked on my Farming Scholarship, I knew it would be totally different to anything I'd done before. But I never would have guessed how far it would take me and the many people I would meet along the way. I would also like to thank the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society for allowing me the time away from the organisation to take up this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

A full copy of Aled’s report can be found online: http://nuffieldinternational.org/rep_pdf/1473236203Aled-Jones-report-2015.pdf