Saturday, December 1, 2012
A new county adviser was formally welcomed to the latest meeting of Norfolk National Farmers’ Union by the retiring chairman.
Breckland farmer Francis Ulrych (right), who will be standing down at the end of February after completing his two-year term, also welcomed his successor and leading dairy farmer Ken Proctor.
Following a review of the NFU’s regional structure, which had been finally agreed at the June council meeting, a new Norfolk county adviser, Alex Dinsdale had just started. He would also be covering the poultry sector as part of his regional responsibilities.
Mr Ulrych, of Park Farm, Griston, stressed that this was not a return to the former county structure but was a response to the scrapping by Whitehall of regional government. Mr Dinsdale would be based at Easton College.
“Over the coming months, he will be talking to the county chairman, council delegates and branch chairmen to see how the NFU in Norfolk intends to progress.“ Every county can develop in its own way and in its own county structure,” said Mr Ulrych.
He had enjoyed his term of office. “The most notable of my two years is that the first year was exceedingly dry and totally refused to rain; the second it won’t stop raining. Hopefully, by the time the new chairman takes over in February, it will have stopped and we’ll get some more normal weather.”
In a personal and brief address on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, he said: “I think, on the CAP, we should start from scratch. When agricultural policy in Europe started, it was designed to produce a plentiful supply of food at an economical price to the consumer at the same time giving the producer, the farmer, an economic and a profitable price to produce it.
“That’s a good enough point to start again but I would add one thing, looking after the environment.”
If they scrap the CAP and start from scratch, we would have a better system. That’s my opinion, not the NFU’s.”
Mr Proctor, of Grange Farm, Shipdham, near Dereham, said: “It is a great honour to represent Norfolk. I can say that my first association with the NFU was probably 50 years ago when I went to sort out the insurance policies with my father.
“We saw Tom Boddy, the group secretary at Downham Market. It had the added bonus of being over the sweetshop, which is something that Hethersett could learn from.”
“I believe we are the premier agricultural county in the country. It is a great honour to be your county chairman. And I will move everything to work for the farmers of this county.”
His great-great-grandfather had farmed at Bexwell, near Downham Market. “This is probably the pinnacle of my political career.”
Regional director Pamela Forbes said that five county advisers had been appointed, except Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, which share. In Suffolk, Rachel Carrington would also look after sugar beet and combinable crops.
Norfolk NFU members had raised 99.3pc of the target subscriptions at £626,000 and had recruited six further members to take ther county total to 1,338, she added.
A raffle raised £317.30 for farming’s charity, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
The following county delegates were elected for a two-year term to serve with fellow member.
Livestock – Edward Stanton, of Snettisham, with Roger Long, of Scarning.
Combinable crops – Duncan West, of Pulham Market, with Robert Salmon, of Fransham.
Dairy – Ken Proctor, of Shipdham, with Tim Cane, of Kirby Bedon.