Fenland grower Michael Sly takes over as chairman of NFU Sugar Board

Cambridgeshire farmer Michael Sly

Cambridgeshire farmer Michael Sly - Credit: NFU

A Fenland beet grower has taken over a key role representing farmers in East Anglia's sugar industry.

Michael Sly, who is based at Park Farm in Thorney in Cambridgeshire, has been elected chairman of the National Farmers' Union's (NFU's) Sugar Board.

Mr Sly, who has served on the board for three years, will help to shape the union's policy as it moves towards the end of EU quotas later this year, representing his colleagues and championing the sector in its negotiations with British Sugar.

He said: 'It's an exciting time to be involved in the UK sugar beet sector post-quotas and with the opportunities and challenges that Brexit may bring.

'We will build on what is already an efficient and globally competitive sector.

'I am looking forward to working with British Sugar on what should be a profitable partnership for growers and the processor.'

Mr Sly will take over the role from fellow Cambridgeshire grower William Martin, who is stepping down after nine years as chairman. He said: 'It has been a privilege to represent the UK's growers for the past nine years. With the end of quotas, now is the right time to hand over. I am confident that the board is in good hands for the future.'

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Mr Sly farms 1,600ha in the fens of North Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire, growing sugar beet as well as combinable crops, peas and mustard. He has been involved with the NFU since 2000 and hosts events on his farm including Open Farm Sunday, which attracts between 5,500 and 8,500 visitors.