Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon, has said that this year’s National Ploughing Championships, which kicks off today (Tuesday) in Athy, Co Kildare, looks set to be the best ever show in the event’s 80 year history.

“This year the National Ploughing Championships is celebrating its 80th anniversary and I am confident that the show will be better than ever. It’s the third year in a row that the event has been held in Athy, which is a rare feat for any host location. The popularity of the Co. Kildare venue is testament to the huge effort put in by the local Kildare Ploughing Association and all of the volunteers and local community groups who have pitched in over the last few years.

“As a former farmer and chair of the Fine Gael Internal Committee on Agriculture, I know the importance of promoting the crucial role agriculture plays in the wider economy. The event is coming at the end of what of has been a very positive year for the agri-business sector. Agriculture is the good news story of the Irish economy at the moment and this is the perfect event to get that story out to a national audience. Yields on both arable crops and dairy produce are up and good market prices are consistently being achieved.

“The Championships provide a great opportunity for all sides of agri-industry to come together, exchange ideas, show their wares and discuss developments in the sector over the last year. The event also acts as a great shop window for a wide variety of small and medium businesses from right across the country.

“I’m looking forward to a great get together over the next three days. As the largest outdoor event in the country, nothing can rival the atmosphere at the Ploughing. With over 150,000 people expected to attend the event, it is promising to be as vibrant as ever. I think it’s also fitting that on its 80th anniversary, the event is being held in Athy, the location of the inaugural Ploughing Championships back in 1931.”