Dairy farmer Ian Bowness has been confirmed as the new NFU Deputy Cumbria County Chairman – a role he’ll fulfil for a year before taking on the top job in February 2020.
Current NFU Cumbria County Chairman David Raine of Old Parks in Kirkoswald near Penrith, has kindly agreed to do another year for the organisation in order to assist 47-year-old Mr Bowness who, despite being a loyal NFU member for many years, has not held any official positions or sat on any boards for the union until now.
Dad of four Ian milks 280 Holstein Friesian cows at Threapland Lees near Aspatria. He sells his milk to Arla and keeps some Jersey cows for ‘a bit of colour’.
The family run business consists of three farms covering just over 600 acres with a mix of owned and rented land.
It’s fair to say that Ian has experience of most aspects of Cumbrian farming. Before buying Threapland Lees 25 years ago, he was a tenant on a mixed farm in south Cumbria near to Ulverston. When Ian's parents, Les and Joyce, bought the farm back in 1993, they knew there was a family connection but had not realised that the holding had been owned by the Bowness family since 1881.The farm changed hands several times after that before eventually coming back into the Bowness family.
Mr Bowness said: “I have a working knowledge of farming in both Cumberland and Westmorland. I’m an owner occupier and have also been a tenant. Alongside the cows we keep a handful of sheep on the farm to keep the kids amused and I don’t think I’ve ever had a year when I’ve not been lambing.”
Maize, spring barley and winter wheat is all grown on the farm to make feed for the herd.
Ian, who employs two staff and an apprentice, has been married to Nurse Teena for twenty years. He has four children, the eldest being daughter Amy (21) who is a radiographer, then it’s Holly (19) who is at Harper Adams, Katie (17) who is studying to be an accountant and finally William who is 15 and still at school.