Yorkshire’s farming community will be celebrated at Ripon Cathedral with the support of the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire.
Johanna Ropner will give an address at the cathedral’s traditional Plough Sunday Service on January 12, where the message to the assembled congregation will be one of positivity, support and pride.
The service is supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and its farming networks, the Future Farmers of Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Rural Support Network, in collaboration with Ripon Cathedral, the Anglican Diocese of Leeds and four Districts of the Methodist Church.
Lord Lieutenant Mrs Ropner said: “It is a great honour to be invited to speak at this year’s Plough Service at Ripon Cathedral at the start of a new year.
“North Yorkshire has a long and proud agricultural heritage which remains enormously relevant in terms of its contribution to the economy and our way of life. This county is at the forefront of delivering quality food from its world-class rural landscapes and with the right support, farming here can flourish for generations to come.
“The Plough Service offers a moment to reflect and give thanks to our farmers for the incredible contribution they make, often in testing circumstances, and to remind them of the support they have from the wider community, in these fast-changing and challenging times which lie ahead for farming.”
R.A.B.I’s Northern welfare officer John Basnett, agricultural chaplain Dianne Gamble and two Future Farmers members, Alice Liddle and Guy Sheddon, will play an active part in the service. Representatives from a range of support organisations will also have a presence, including the Samaritans and the Institute of Agricultural Secretaries.
In keeping with tradition, a ploughshare will be presented before the congregation by members of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. The plough will be blessed by the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.
Kate Dale, co-ordinator of the Yorkshire Rural Support Network at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, said: “All members of our farming community will be welcomed warmly at this annual service which celebrates their vital role as food producers and as guardians of our glorious countryside.
“It is important that our farmers feel supported and valued for the work they do which is of enormous benefit to us all and we hope the service provides them with a timely, uplifting message at the start of the new year.”
The service will be led by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson DL, who said: “On Plough Sunday, in asking God to bless the plough we are acknowledging that He is the source of all life and growth and that we depend on his providence for the provision of all our needs. At the beginning of the growing cycle it expresses our trust in God and also our awareness of the realities and challenges that face life on planet earth.
“At the moment, with both environmental and economic difficulties, farmers have a particularly heavy burden to bear. We at Ripon Cathedral have been exploring the different dimensions to this through the work of our Rural Forum. I have seen yet more evidence of the extent of the challenges for farmers in this region both first-hand and through chairing the North Yorkshire Rural Commission.
“My hope is that through this service our farmers and rural communities will find encouragement and be inspired to put faith and trust in God.”
Anyone wishing to attend the Plough Service at Ripon Cathedral on Sunday 12th January is invited to gather from 2.30pm for hot pork rolls and drinks, before the service gets underway at 3.30pm.