THE Monmouthshire farming community celebrates the 175th anniversary edition of one of its most popular events – the Usk Show – on Saturday.

Usk Show is today billed as one of the biggest agricultural shows in the UK, bringing in thousands of visitors, but this event – held annually on the second Saturday in September – had modest beginnings.

Usk Farmers Club, which organises the show each year, was formed in 1844 by a group of so-called 'leading agriculturalists' following the success of the group's Chepstow equivalent.

Impressively, the descendants of some of those founder members are still involved in the running of Usk Show, 175 years later.

The inaugural show featured a ploughing match, followed by a dinner at Usk's The Three Salmons pub and restaurant.

A foray into the show's records, which are preserved at Usk Rural Life Museum, shows that in its formative years, Usk Show was a more limited affair.

The records for the 1854 edition listed just 13 classes of competition, including prizes for the 'neatest farm', 'thatching', and 'cheese' – but only one class for livestock, and that was for pigs.

Things have certainly changed since then, and 11 livestock sections will be judged at this year's event.

The show has moved around over the years. One of the first recorded venues for Usk Show was Trostrey Farm, and in 1909 a more permanent home was offered by Mr A.W. Trotman, who owned The Radyr Farm – which is now Coleg Gwent – and hosted the show until 1938.

The outbreak of war, a few weeks before the 1939 show, called a halt to Usk Show for a few years, but in 1947 the Show was revived and held at Llancayo Farm, where it remained until 1984.

A new home had to be found when that ground was sold, so the show moved back to one of the original venues, Trostrey Court, for five years.

Then, in 1989, the current showground near the village of Gwernesney was offered by Lord Raglan, and was bought by a consortium of investors.

Money is ploughed back into the showground to make improvements year on year, such as permanent roadways for example to try and avoid visitors getting stuck in the mud.

Last year, the show office moved to an office at Llancayo Farm, taking the show full circle, back to one of its original homes.

As well as livestock and equestrian competitions, this year's event will include horticulture and homecraft contests and a vintage tractor display, as well as other animal performances featuring dogs, falcons, and camels.