HER Royal Highness the Princess Royal has highlighted the importance of agricultural shows throughout Australia, stepping out on the Brisbane Showgrounds this afternoon to attend the 26th Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth (RASC) conference.
Greeting 230 show society delegates from around the world at the RNA-hosted event, Princess Anne, who is the RASC’s president, said she was “surprised it’s the first time it’s been here (in Brisbane) given the extraordinary history of Queensland as one of the greatest primary producing areas in the world.”
While the conference traditionally has an agricultural focus, this year’s meet running from October 21-24 is broadening the spectrum with the introduction of three streams of speakers – agriculture, strategy and the operational – based on feedback from the last meeting held in Zambia in 2012.
The Princess Royal praised Australia’s more than 600 agricultural show societies as “institutions” for attracting almost a quarter of the national population to attend a show each year.
“The tradition of the agricultural shows form a particularly rich part of Australia’s cultural and social heritage,” she said.
The Princess Royal suggested visiting delegates may aspire to match Australia’s success.
“The shows, wherever they are, [are] widely anticipated and are often the single largest, regular annual event in its community,” she said.
No stranger to a royal meeting of this nature, RNA president David Thomas is the current vice-president of the RASC.
Speaking to Queensland Country Life as he waited for the royal arrival, Mr Thomas said the initiative to put a spotlight on sustainability and the relevance of the agricultural industry to show societies enabled the RNA and Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies to work together.
Prior to the conference, international delegates took part in a five-day tour through southern Queensland including a visit to the Scenic Rim, a feedlot at Dalby, a robotic dairy, and farming around Kingaroy before heading towards Brisbane.
“The feedback I received was that it was phenomenal. People on the tour thought it was tremendous because they got to meet real Queenslanders.”
Princess Anne is the third royal to visit the home of Queensland’s beloved Ekka, after Edward VIII’s visit in 1920, and Queen Elizabeth II trip after her Royal Coronation in 1954.