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South of England Agricultural Society announces new President and Charity of the Year for 2020

UK / AGILITYPR.NEWS / January 13, 2020 / The South of England Agricultural Society is delighted to announce that Elizabeth Buchanan CVO LLD FRAgs has been appointed as the charity’s President for 2020.




Former Private Secretary to TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, and previously Press Secretary to Lady Thatcher, Miss Buchanan is a non-executive director of D.E.F.R.A., an advisor to Waitrose, Saputo Dairy UK and the Chime Group, and sits on the BBC Rural Affairs Committee. Elizabeth also runs her family’s organic beef farm in Nutley, East Sussex which was established in 1976, meaning she is no stranger to both the policy and the practical ends of the agricultural sector.


As the 2020 President, Elizabeth has selected The Prince’s Countryside Fund as the Society’s charity of the year. Established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010, the charity exists to improve the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life. The Fund provides more than £1m in grant and initiative funding each year, supporting projects across the UK that help to provide a secure future for the countryside. This includes The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme, a highly successful business skills training scheme, which offers advice to family farm businesses in 15 locations each year. It was run from Plumpton College in 2016 and 2017, and this year is operating in the High Weald AONB. The Fund also commissions research into issues affecting farming families and rural communities, acts as an advocate for the countryside by bringing together individuals and businesses to help tackle current challenges, and helps communities in crisis through their Emergency Fund.


“Having visited the Show since my childhood and shown our Sussex Cattle there on many occasions, it is a huge honour and privilege to be appointed President of the South of England Agricultural Society. The Society sits at the heart of the farming community in the South East of England and as agricultural policy undergoes its greatest change in seventy years, is perfectly placed to raise awareness and support through its shows and other charitable activities. I am enormously grateful that The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which cares for the people who care for the countryside and so looks after all of us, will be their Charity of the Year”.


The South of England Agricultural Society exists to fund and support agricultural education and promote countryside learning across the southern counties of Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Berkshire. Their support of The Prince’s Countryside Fund in 2020 will include raising awareness through their network of members and supporters, and providing the charity with an opportunity to fundraise at their various events held throughout the year, including the ever-popular South of England Show which takes place on 11th ,12th, and 13th June 2020.


“We’re absolutely delighted that Elizabeth has accepted the role of President for 2020, her boundless enthusiasm and passion for the land and our cause is second to none” concluded Iain Nicol, CEO of The South of England Agricultural Society. “Her selection of The Prince’s Countryside Fund as our charity to support throughout the year couldn’t be more fitting - supporting land based industries and people with an interest or involvement in agriculture, horticulture and the countryside is central to our overall objective.”


Elizabeth and representatives from The Prince’s Countryside Fund will be attending The South of England Agricultural Society’s next event - Spring Live! on 2nd & 3rd May 2020 at the South of England Showground in Ardingly, West Sussex. For more information, visit www.seas.org.uk.


In 2020, the Society will host the following events and initiatives: 



Spring Live! Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May

South of England Show Thursday 11th,Friday 12th and Saturday 13th June

Autumn Show & Game Fair Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th Oct

Winter Fair Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd Nov


Industry events:

The South of England Farming Conference 11th November


Awards and bursaries:

Award of Honour, travel bursaries, and grants to land-based colleges and postgraduate students.


Educational events & competitions:

Connect with the Countryside; Jim Green Challenge; Young Artisan of the Year Competition; The Student Assignment Competition; and showcasing Countryside Careers at the Big Bang Fair South East organised by STEM Sussex.  

About Us

The South of England Agricultural Society is a registered charity founded in 1967 from a consolidation of agricultural societies going back to the 1830s. The Society operates from the South of England Showground, a 150-acre site situated just outside Ardingly in the West Sussex countryside. 


Visitors attending the Society Shows help to fund initiatives and projects that support agricultural education and countryside learning.


Working across Berkshire, East Sussex, Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey and West Sussex, the Society’s aims are to showcase agriculture, horticulture and the countryside through annual shows which raise funds that help serve the community through the provision of education, grants, awards, bursaries and scholarships for people with an interest or involvement in agriculture, horticulture and land based industries.


The South of England Agricultural society also owns and runs the South of England Event Centre at their Showground. All profits raised from venue hire go towards the Society’s charitable work. For information go to southofenglandeventcentre.co.uk


For information, please visit www.seas.org.uk or telephone 01444 892700.



Gemma Hook


PMW Communications Ltd

Phone: +44(0)1403 783400 Mobile: +44 (0)7920 820018