England’s most northerly NFU county is welcoming a new County Chairman at a pivotal time for the farming industry.
Stocksfield dairy and conservation farmer, Tom Richardson, has now taken over the reins as County Chairman and says that with so much going on in the industry at present there is a big ‘to do’ list for the county.
“With Covid restrictions still in place while we try to navigate the tremendous changes coming our way post-Brexit, an obvious priority has to be continuing to make the NFU as accessible as possible to our members, he said.
“We are being bombarded with consultations right now - covering all aspects of our farming businesses and our relationships with the supply chain – and it’s hard to keep up.
“As well as the ‘big picture’ policy developments, we also have a lot of important local issues to deal with and these will be a priority in the coming months. In particular our response to the threat from Bovine TB will be crucial, if we are to maintain our largely disease-free status.”
Another issue close to Mr Richardson’s heart is farm safety. “Unfortunately we still see too many fatal accidents in farming – partly a result of the increasing stress we are under,” he said. “I would like to think we could do more during my two-year term to highlight the importance of keeping safe and not cutting corners when tired or under pressure.”
Starting his new role, Mr Richardson will be working closely with former Chairman, Morpeth organic livestock, poultry and arable farmer, Simon Bainbridge, who has now taken over as NFU Council delegate for the county.
“It will be great to continue working with Simon, after getting to know him well over the last two years when I was County Vice-Chairman,” added Mr Richardson.
“We make a good team and I know we will both work hard over the coming years to ensure Northumberland’s superb farmers are well represented in the NFU’s regional and national work.
“I would urge anyone to get in touch with us if they have any issues we can help with or simply to feed in views about the direction of travel for our evolving domestic agriculture policy. Your county team is just a phone call away.”