For the first time, home-grown sugar was part of the historic Lord Mayor’s Show and annual procession through the heart of London.

A 30-tonne sugar beet harvester was lent by Suffolk grower Peter Butler to the Worshipful Company of Farmers for the parade.

It is the latest item of big kit which has been paraded through central London, by the Livery Company in the past six years. In earlier years, the display has included a Claas combine harvester, forage harvester, Grimme potato harvester, a PMC pea viner, from Fakenham, and a 10-furrow plough and tractor.

The Worshipful Company of Farmers, which was founded in 1952, has been determined to promote a better understanding of the economic importance of UK farming in the 
life of the nation and the close association of farming with the City of London.

The beet harvester also displayed signs to highlight the importance of the home-grown sugar industry, worth an estimated £800m to the UK economy.

The annual three-mile procession, which attracted an audience of more than half a million, started from the Mansion House via the streets of the City of London as Alderman David Wootton followed 683 years of tradition by introducing himself to the people at the historic Lord Mayor’s Show parade.

The machine, which is powered by a 400hp engine and is capable of harvesting about 30 acres a day, was driven past St Paul’s Cathedral to the Royal Courts of Justice and back to Mansion House via Victoria Embankment.

“Promoting agriculture and the importance of farming is a key objective of the Worshipful Company of Farmers,” said Peter Faulkner, who is Master of the Company. ]

“Too many people are ignorant of where their food comes from, how it is produced and even what it contains. The UK sugar beet industry deserves wider appreciation as a part of the professional, innovative, thriving, dedicated and sustainable UK agricultural industry,” he added.

Mr Faulkner, senior warden John Reynolds, junior warden Baroness Hazel Byford, who is herself a sugar beet grower, and liveryman Lindsay Hargreaves, dressed in the attire of a 19th century farm worker marched in front of the Agrifac Quatro beet harvester.

Norfolk sugar beet growers are invited to a briefing at Easton College on Monday, December 5 at 9.30am. William Martin, chairman of the National Farmers’ Union’s sugar board and a fenland farmer, will introduce the proceedings.

source: edp24

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