Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith said that after a difficult few years, things are now looking a great deal brighter for agriculture.

He said the agri-food sector is making a colossal contribution to economic recovery.

The minister was speaking at the Tullamore Show in Co Offaly where over 60,000 spectators attended today.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen was also at the event, which includes the AIB National Livestock Show.

The Tullamore Show is the largest summer festival for Irish farmers.

There were over 600 trade stands on the 260-acre site at Butterfield Estate near Blueball, which is about 3km outside Tullamore on the N52.

The dairy and cattle competitions were the highlight of the show, with owners vying for 45 national titles.

There were also competitions for alpacas, sheepdog trials and a whole range of other activities.