New Suffolk NFU chairman is optimistic about farming's future
Brian Finnerty, NFU East Anglia
The new Suffolk branch chairman of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) said he is optimistic for the sector's future, despite the challenges and uncertainties posed by Brexit.
Glenn Buckingham, who has worked as a farm manager at Helmingham, near Framlingham, for 27 years, believes there are opportunities to improve Britain’s self-sufficiency in food, which is now down to an estimated 61pc.
“It’s a challenging time for agriculture but we must remember that there is a massive home market that needs to be supplied. There may well be more opportunities to grow for this, while also looking after the environment,” he said.
Mr Buckingham is a strong supporter of Suffolk FWAG and interested in environmental issues. The farm is in the higher tier Countryside Stewardship scheme and includes a raft of measures to support wildlife such as great-crested newts, stag beetles, plovers, barn owls and brown hares.
“Environment Secretary Michael Gove has talked about the significance of natural capital – assessing the values in the countryside beyond its agricultural output alone,” said Mr Buckingham.
“I think it’s very important to explore the opportunities this approach might offer to land managers in the future. We will see new ways to support the landscape that we all live and work in.”
Mr Buckingham will serve a two-year term as county chairman, succeeding Colin Clifton-Brown.