On the 26th August 1833 a meeting was held in St. Helier, chaired by the Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, Major General Thornton, to consider forming an agricultural society. At this meeting it was unanimously agreed “…to be highly desirable to form in this Island an Agricultural and Horticultural Society”.
An earlier attempt to form an agricultural society in Jersey in 1790 had failed, but this time it was successful and the first meeting of the new society was held on the 7th September 1833. The aims of the new society were “to create a spirit of industry and emulation, to offer premiums for the improvement of agriculture, breeding of cattle, improved domestic economy, cleanliness and comfort in cottages, and also for the encouragement of industry and good behavior among servants and labourers in the employment of members or subscribers of the Society”.
Colonel Sir John Le Couteur was elected as the first Secretary and later served as President. He was a renowned agriculturalist, writing a number of books on the subject and breeding varities of wheat at his home, Belle Vue in St Brelade.
This was at a time during the 19th century, following the agricultural revolution in the United Kingdom, when many such societies were founded to communicate the latest improvements in agricultural practices to the farming community.
Today the RJA&HS is made up of two departments. The Agricultural Department stages agricultural shows, provides a range of services to support the modern dairy industry and is primarily responsible for the management of the Jersey breed in the Island.
The Horticultural Department is primarily concerned with the promotion of horticulture through talks, shows, garden competitions and general advice.