CLA President (Country Land and Business Association representing 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses in England and Wales)
Tim was elected President of the CLA (Country Land and Business Association) in November 2017. As such he represents 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses across England and Wales.
He farms 1,600 acres in Cambridgeshire growing wheat, spring barley, oil seed rape and sugarbeet and runs a number of rural business diversifications. Tim served for 18 years in the Grenadier Guards and is a member of Her Majesty’s Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.
The British countryside is the 8th wonder of the world, and the envy of so many. We are all fortunate to be part of it. We must not forget our mutual interest in preserving its quality, its natural state and many purposes, its continued viability and our ability to share the experience with those who live in towns and cities. In short the countryside matters, for us all, and all the time.
The starting gun of Article 50 has been fired by the time you read this. The UK is leaving the European Union. It is a decisive, historic, moment but the clarity we investors crave for is somewhat lacking.
Perhaps one can overestimate the impact the Government has on the economy, but such is the role of the state that we ignore their strategic purpose at our peril. February saw two key documents published which impact on many, if not all, rural businesses.
As a nation we ask a lot of the countryside. It must feed us, attract tourists, be accessible for recreation and exercise, generate energy and store carbon. At the same time it must clean the air, provide an escape and inspiration, manage flood water, provide habitats for flora and fauna, and be a good place to live and work for rural communities. We ask all this and much more.
To say that UK farming is at a crossroads is an understatement. Food security, the rural economy and environmental management could all change beyond recognition after Brexit when the UK's relationship with the Common Agricultural Policy ends.
The CLA is exploring how countryside communities can leap ahead and achieve the ultrafast connections that will genuinely set rural businesses up for the future. Only when Government and industry show that they are looking to that horizon alongside us will they genuinely deserve the credit they crave.
The one hard-and-fast rule about a 'Plan B' is to make sure there is one. The farming industry - at the whim in recent years of foot and mouth, bovine TB, crop disease, droughts, flooding, and commodity price crashes to name but a few - understands of the importance of a fall-back plan.
09/03/2016 11:03 GMT
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.