THE Great Yorkshire Show opens today and visitors will include top Defra officials and regional development agency bosses intent on demonstrating their pro-countryside commitments.
A senior Defra minister is expected to attend the show - the biggest single- county agricultural event in the UK - at sometime during the week, although details are being kept un wraps because of the national security situation.
However, one VIP visitor today will be Terry Hodgkinson, chairman of the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, who has agreed to make himself available at Stand 617 to discuss rural business problems, including changes to Defra's delivery of rural services.
Mr Hodgkinson is particular proud of the way that Yorkshire Forward has part-funded schemes to spread 100% broadband IT coverage to rural areas of the county by the end of this year.
He will also give advice to rural businesses on the support now available through various county-wide business link projects and give an update on the progress of 22 Yorkshire markets towns taking part in the Renaissance Towns iniative, which includes Skipton and Settle.
He said yesterday: "One of our key priorities over the last three years has been to establish links between rural businesses and their urban counterparts to enable them to continue to work and grow their businesses in rural areas.
"Broadband has been the lynchpin of this work, and information and communication technology will support the 22 market towns that are participating in our Renaissance Market Towns programme as they work to re-invent themselves as the cream of 21st century market towns."