Phil Smallwood (NFU Cheshire Public Relations Committee Chairman) talks about his passion for education and the Royal Cheshire Show
If you’ve attended the Royal Cheshire Show at all in the past 25 years, there’s a high possibility that you’ve met the NFU’s Cheshire Public Relations Committee Chairman Phil Smallwood.
Since the age of 30, the dairy farmer from Stanthorne in Middlewich has been involved with organising a marquee dedicated to showcasing the best of Cheshire farming.
Now aged 56, Phil milks 45 cows of mixed breed and sells his milk to Arla. He also looks after 30 sheep – also of mixed breed at Greenheyes Farm. And one thing is certain. He has never lost his passion for educating the general public about the many benefits farming contributes to society.
“I don’t believe in sitting around an auction whinging about the state of the job with other farmers. I am a passionate believer that farmers need to get out to our customers and promote a positive image of ourselves,” said Phil.
“The beauty of the NFU is that members bring a variety of skill sets and experience to the table. I believe mine is communication with the public.”
Phil, who has his own Greenheyes Roadshow, which he takes to small events and schools, won the NFU’s Farming Ambassador of the Year Award in 2003. He used his prize money to buy a trailer, with the intention of mimicking the NFU’s Roadshow, but on a much smaller scale.
Phil explained: “Anyone who knows me will understand what I mean when I say the trailer was an Ebay special purchase. It has affectionately been nicknamed the burger van but it was actually owned by a mobile key cutter before I bought it in 2005.
“My initial idea was to take my trailer to six events a year and possibly a few schools. So far this year I have 25 events in the diary and it’s only the beginning of April. I must be mad.”
Married to Dorothy for 33 years, Phil is father to two children – Simon (30) and Sarah (28). He was brought up in a cottage across the road from the farm - which was run in partnership between his father and uncle. Sadly Phil lost his father when he was only 21. He eventually took over the tenancy of Greenheyes Farm in 1989, moving into the farmhouse.
A tenant of the Dina France-Heyhurst Charitable Trust, Phil said: “I imagine I’ll be the last of my family to have this tenancy as it’s highly likely the farm will be destroyed by HS2.”
Looking forward to organising another successful NFU Back British Farming marquee at the Royal Cheshire Show, Phil would like to see more NFU volunteers offering to help at the show.
Phil added: “I’m not expecting people to give up two days to be in the marquee but what I do want are ideas and opinions. Fresh pairs of eyes with new ideas are always required.”
Royal Cheshire Show - Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st June. If you’d like to find out more about the NFU’s Back British Farming marquee, contact Phil on 07973 850 260.