Meet the NFU Livestock Board

27 July 2023

Sheep, cattle and chickens

The NFU Livestock Board meets regularly and supports members throughout the sector and sets the path for future sustainable growth. 

Richard Findlay

NFU Livestock Board chair

Richard farms a mixed beef and sheep holding in Westerdale in the North York Moors National Park.

He has 2000 acres of moorland in a HLS agreement and the farm is stocked with mainly Easycare ewes as well as pedigree flocks of Beltex and Suffolks.

He is director of the “7 Hill Farmers Ltd” producer group and has been NFU Livestock Board chair since March 2018.

David Barton

NFU Livestock Board vice chair

David was born and raised on his family farm in the Cotswolds where he farms a beef suckler herd and cereals, using the two businesses to support each other and provide sustainable produce.

David is the NFU South West Livestock Board chair and has also worked with AHDB as a strategic farm to improve profitability and efficiency.

He is currently part of the TB Partnership.

Robert Lewis

NFU Livestock Board member, NFU Cymru

Robert farms three farms as one unit, where the land rises from 750 feet to more than 1650 feet on common grazing and overlooks the gateway to the Elan Valley.

The enterprise consists of 1200 head of sheep, including 450 traditional Welsh Mountain ewes; the business produces its own replacements, only buying in tups. The cattle enterprise consists of 60 Limousin and British Blue suckler cows which to go a Limousin bull. Calves are finished on farm.

Robert is a lamb buying agent for Randall Parker Farms and chair of the Rhayader Smithfield Trust from where Rhayader Livestock Sales trade. He has also judged livestock at many shows including the Royal Welsh Agricultural Winter Fair.

Richard Spencer

NFU Livestock Board member, West Midlands

Richard farms the family farm in partnership with his wife and son, which included dairy farming until 2009 when the herd dispersed. They now have a small area of winter wheat, part of their reseeding rotation, contract farmed.

The farm has over 600 ewes, based on Lleyn put to high index Meatlinc and Charolais, and a small flock of pedigree Shropshires.

Richard is also chair of British Wool Central Region Committee, and is managing director of Sheep Fairs Ltd, a group of enthusiastic volunteers who came together in 2015 to organise a sheep fair on an annual basis in two local market towns to promote all things derived from sheep.

"I am driven by words said to me on the journey to my first regional meeting: 'We must never forget the farmer trying to make a living from 30 suckler cows on the moors.'

"We are here to represent all farmers at all levels of the industry."

Ros Turner

NFU Livestock Board member, East Midlands

Ros is an eighth generation sheep farmer. She manages 300 breeding ewes – Scotch Mules and home-bred Texel X Scotch Mule ewes – and is part of a boxed lamb scheme called Burgin Lodge Lamb.

The farm also sells Christmas trees, and does grass and fodder crop sales from its 65 hectares. Ros is keen on marketing and promotion and has some board experience of that from her time as an AHDB Beef and Lamb board member between 2013 and 2019. 

She took over the business when her father retired in 2005 but has been helping to farm it for over 30 years. 

“I’m pleased to represent East Midlands livestock farmers. It is a unique area with the range of farming systems and landscapes encompassing the Lincolnshire Fens to the uplands of the Derbyshire Peak District. I am keen to ensure a future profitable industry for all farmers in the area and promoting a sustainable future.”

Julia Camp

NFU Livestock Board member, East Anglia

Julia farms in Hertfordshire in partnership with her husband. She farm 450 acres with the majority being permanent pasture and grass leys, with a small acreage of cereals.

The farm is predominately beef and runs a 130-cow spring calving suckler herd, alongside a 400-head beef finishing unit, all stock is sold on a dead weight basis.

Ben Robinson

NFU Livestock Board member, South East

Ben Robinson is a first generation sheep farmer and calf rearer in Hampshire.

He works with neighbouring arable farmers to utilise cover crops in their rotations as well as providing livestock to graze land in wildlife schemes and his sheep graze local vineyards in the winter months.

Ben buys in milk calves and rears them for 12-18 months when they are sold as store cattle. He also relief milks for local dairy farmers. Ben has recently come up through the Young Farmers movement, serving as chair of South East Area Young Farmers, Hampshire YFC chair and also sitting on the National Board.

John Longmire

NFU Livestock Board member, North West

John farms in South Cumbria in partnership with his wife and son. He is a third generation dairy farmer milking Friesian cows on their family-owned farm. The milk supplies Booths supermarket and Tebay Services through Morphet Farms.

He also runs a flock of mule sheep and small herd of Limousins. John is currently county vice chair of Cumbria NFU and is a director of Ulverston Auction Mart.

Andrew Loftus

NFU Livestock Board member, North East

Andrew runs a small suckler herd with his wife Joanna near Masham in North Yorkshire, and is also involved with his family’s pedigree livestock farm in Lancashire (the Weeton Herd). He has two young sons.

Andrew was formerly Agriculture Manager at Wm Morrison Supermarkets, and has worked with numerous retailers and processors in his career as a consultant. He is currently a Director of SellmyLivestock, Graindex (UK) Ltd, and an independent board member of Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL).

Dan Burling

NFU Livestock Board appointee

Dan is a progressive beef farmer from Cambridge. He has been expanding the family farm and increased their cattle production by building a relationship with the RSPB, increasing summer grazing and switching to more efficient and functional stabiliser cows.

Dan has previously worked as a lecturer at Plumpton College, a soil scientist and for the RPA. He was an original member of AHDB's national progressive beef group and his key interests involve using estimated breeding values (EBVs) and genomics along with composite breeding to produce a beef system that has a low environmental impact while producing a high quality fit for market product.

Mark Jelley

NFU Livestock Board appointee

Mark farms in partnership with his father on a mixed beef and arable farm in West Northamptonshire.

The farm runs 100 spring calving Hereford x Friesian suckler cows alongside a finishing unit for all home-grown stock. The finishing unit produces young bulls sold deadweight between 12 and 15 months alongside heifers finished for a local catering butcher.

Mark also sits as a farmer member on the COWS (Control of Worms Sustainably) steering group and as a working farmer on the Veterinary Products Committee at the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

Oli Lee

NFU Livestock Board appointee

Oli is a first generation beef and sheep farmer in Leicestershire. He and his wife are partners in her family’s business consisting of a flock of 650 Lleyn breeding ewes, 350 running ewe lambs, and a small Beef Shorthorn suckler herd.

He previously ran the neighbouring organic beef, sheep and arable estate and has previous experience as a Meat and Livestock Commission industry analyst and farm business consultant.

Oli strives to bridge the divide between organic and non-organic production systems and is aware that future farming may change significantly from how we recognise it now. He is optimistic that we will thrive as an industry and is keen to be a part of that as an appointee on the NFU Livestock Board.

Clare Wise

NFU Livestock Board appointee

Clare is a mixed farmer from County Durham, farming sheep, cattle and arable. Following a career within the food chain, Clare returned home to run her fifth generation family farm.

Clare has a particular interest in animal health and welfare, using Agri tech and soil management to maximise livestock productivity. She is also an keen early adopter of new technologies on farm, always eager to give new opportunities a try.

Concerning all things net zero, Clare is determined to ensure farmers can maximise their productivity and financial rewards through this, especially in securing our unique place on supermarket shelves against imports.

She is very keen to preserve and value traditional stockmanship skills and ensure these work alongside new innovation and are valued.

Clare is also actively volunteering with the NFU Education Farmers for Schools programme and regularly visits schools to promote farming and food to the next generation of consumers.

Clare hopes to use her role on the Livestock board to provide support to livestock farmers in the post subsidy world, ensuring they are rewarded and valued for their hard work and unique skill set, and that government policy supports farming to be a profitable and enjoyable career.

Thomas Binns

NFU Uplands Forum chair and NFU Livestock Board co-optee

Thomas farms in partnership with his wife on a tenanted upland farm of 750 ha across the LFA.

The farm is situated in the Bowland AONB in Lancashire. It has 2500 breeding ewes consisting of Swaledales and Mules. Lambs are both sold finished and for breeding. Grazing cattle are also summered. The farm currently participates in Environmental Stewardship.

He says: “Brexit has the potential to impact most severely on livestock farmers. I am very conscious that keeping food at the heart of new policy changes must be our priority.”

Dave Morgan

NFU Livestock Board co-optee

Dave runs the family farm in Herefordshire, an enterprise based around beef finishing as well as sheep, arable and AD enterprises. 

The farm finishes 1000 cattle a year, around 1200 lambs over winter and has 130 suckler cows.

A practical farmer who is passionate about British meat, Dave represents the NFU Livestock Board's view on the Red Tractor beef and lamb board.

Gareth Parker

NFU Livestock Board co-optee

Gareth is a partner in his family's tenanted farm in Ludlow having graduated from Harper Adams University. They have 250 head of cattle on a semi intensive grass-based system alongside an arable unit.

He also works for Pickstocks procuring cattle for their processing unit. This gives him a good insight into the supply chain. His work also focuses on data collection and utilising it to improve productivity and efficiency on farm.

Gareth thinks upcoming innovations within the livestock sector will create a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the high standards of traceability, food safety and animal welfare and being on the board puts him at the forefront of this.

Will Atkinson

NFU Livestock Board co-optee

Will is a partner in his family's 1200-acre farm that runs 600 breeding ewes, 320 cattle finishing around 200 a year and arable business.

They have also diversified by running a campsite on farm as well as launching Meonside Meats, which supplies lamb direct to people's doors.

Will also has experience within the supply chain from working with Randall Parker Foods where he worked on new product development to find innovating products to maintain consumer interest in lamb. He is keen to use his background and position on the board to increase traceability within the sector.

Amanda Watson

Student & Young Farmer Ambassador, North East and NFU Livestock board co-optee

Amanda grew up on an upland/hill farm in the Durham Dales where her brothers and parents are running a 200 cow suckler herd and lambing 800 ewes. This is where her passion for livestock began. She now farms in North Yorkshire on her partner's finishing beef and sheep farm alongside working as Livestock Specialist for Woodhead Bros (Morrisons) since graduating from Harper Adams in 2020.

Amanda is passionate about improving efficiency in the livestock industry and hopes to learn more about how to drive this by meeting new people from a range of backgrounds.

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