FARMERS have been having a hard time of late.

Those in the dairy industry are having to battle against low milk prices while sheep farmers face a dramatic volatility in lamb prices. But, despite everything, they keep going.

So, too, do Craven’s agricultural shows, which are in full swing.

The first – Gargrave – was held at the weekend and has been hailed a success. This Saturday, it is the turn of Malham, followed by Kilnsey on Tuesday and Bentham and Horton-in-Ribblesdale next Saturday.

Such events have a vital role to play. They provide a showcase of farming and rural life, attracting thousands of people not just from local farming communities, but from miles around.

It is a chance to demonstrate the importance of farming and the rural economy to a wider audience. Right now, farmers need all the support they can get.

And, with an estimated six million people visiting agricultural and country shows each year – that’s about ten per cent of the population – they are a great means of spreading the message.

We need to back Britain’s farmers to ensure a profitable and sustainable industry well into the future. The sector supports families and economic growth by providing more than 3.8 million jobs, contributes more than £9.4 billion to the UK economy and funds countryside and environmental improvements.

Over the years, Craven’s shows have been beset by poor weather and pestilence, but they keep rolling on.

Like farmers, the shows are resilient – and long may they continue.