YORKSHIRE Agricultural Society's chief executive will step down after more than 20 years at the helm.

Nigel Pulling will retire from his role in March 2022 after overseeing key commercial projects at the Great Yorkshire Showground, such as the building of Fodder, the Regional Agricultural Centre, and the multi-million pound rebuild of Hall 1 in the Yorkshire Event Centre.

In 2017, Nigel was awarded an Award of the Associateship of Royal Agricultural Societies at the House of Lords for outstanding contribution to agriculture.

He joined the society in 2001 when the Great Yorkshire Show could not go ahead due to Foot and Mouth disease. This was the first time GYS had been cancelled other than for the two world wars.

Nigel noted the similarities between planning for the Great Yorkshire Show in 2002 against a backdrop of strict bio-security controls, and planning this year’s show under Covid regulations.

“We overcame the tough challenges on both occasions to deliver successful Great Yorkshire Shows and I couldn’t have ended my tenure on a better show.

"We were devastated to cancel last year and despite the challenges and restrictions placed on this year’s event, it was an incredible achievement for the team.

"The atmosphere of celebration and enjoyment from the farming community and visitors was second to none.”

This year, the show welcomed a number of high-profile guests including The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall as well as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice MP, Robbie Moore MP, Defra Minister Victoria Prentis MP and James Newman, Chair of the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP.

Nigel added: “It was always my aim to take the Great Yorkshire Show to a national level, to attract royalty, industry leaders and politicians as well as national publicity to help bang the drum for the farming industry and I feel we have done and will continue to do just that.”

Nigel says it is now time to step into retirement and to hand over the reins to the next chief executive who can take the society into its next chapter.

“I leave my role on a high, the Great Yorkshire Show is in a strong position ready for next year. Events are returning to the Showground after this difficult 18 months, the charitable activities team is stronger than ever before in its support for farming families and promotion of agriculture to the next generation – and I know it will go from strength to strength.”

Rob Copley, chairman of Trustees said: “Nigel has been a real asset, he is hugely respected in the industry and his leadership has taken the Society up to the next level.

“On behalf of All the Trustee and Council members past and present I want to thank him for all his hard work, determination."