AgriScot founder dies just days before 2016 event begins

Bill Romanis, pictured in 2002, was the driving force behind AgriScot. Picture: Bill Henry

Bill Romanis, pictured in 2002, was the driving force behind AgriScot. Picture: Bill Henry

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Scotland’s largest winter farming event, AgriScot, takes place tomorrow at Ingliston but sadly Bill Romanis, the man who first had the vision to hold a major agricultural exhibition out of the normal show season, will be missing as he died last week.

Romanis was responsible for business services for NFU Scotland back in the 1980s when the idea of DairyScot – an event to promote the milk sector in Scotland – was first mooted.

Central to this event was a top-class dairy cattle competition that attracted entries from all over the UK. Thanks to his enthusiasm, the event was successful and over the intervening years it gradually expanded to cover all aspects of agriculture and in doing so, changed its name to AgriScot.

READ MORE: Countdown to unveiling of country’s top beef farm

Initially the free entry event was run by the union, but it is now organised by Rural Projects under the control of Martin Dare, Romanis’ son-in-law.

It has now expanded to the point where more than 240 stands are based in four exhibition halls on the Highland Show site and it attracts more than 10,000 visitors.

While the premier dairy competition continues, in recent years other competitions have been added so that tomorrow, the Scottish Beef and Sheep Farm of the Year awards will be presented along with a Business Skills award for SRUC students.

Seminars now also play a major role in the event covering a wide range of topics from the latest developments in animal welfare and husbandry through to post Brexit machinations.

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