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Stackyard News Jan 06

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    New Cumbrian County Chairman For NFU

THE NFU in Cumbria has a new entrepreneurial county chairman who is determined to see the industry he loves revolutionised.

Trevor Wilson
Trevor Wilson

Trevor Wilson, 44, of Low Bankside Farm in Cartmel, believes his members have the managerial and manual skills to make a success of anything they put their minds to. He officially took over as county chairman on Monday 23 January.

"What I've found is that skills based for running a farm can run any business successfully," said Mr Wilson who is a father of five and is married to Lesley.

"Some of the skills I've learnt from farming can be better used. At the moment I'm developing some property in and around the Flookburgh area and I do a lot of the building work myself. Farmers tend to have a good aptitude for most trades. I've personally become quite handy at joinery and plastering.

"The new skills I've developed are a lot better utilised in converting properties than what they would be building a non profit making slurry or silage pit at the moment.

"Commodity production in agriculture will only bring profit to the best and most efficient producers. There are many factors in determining who is the best, size of farm, location, skills and even age and stage of family unit.

"Diversification should not be something that is done to prop up non-profit making enterprises on the farm. Some of us will have to embrace change and Single Farm Payment will help us do that."

During FMD, Trevor and his wife Lesley knew there was a niche for fast food in Flookburgh so with some close friends they purchased a terraced house and converted it into Flounder's fish and chip shop that can be found in Flookburgh Square.

The Monsoon Sheep Shower was the first diversification.

"I made the first two from scratch and you could tell a mile off that they were farmer made," added Trevor.

"However, I have a friend in the village who owns an engineering firm and now that firm makes the showers to my design.

"We are currently looking at exporting but have already sold models into southern Ireland and all over the UK.

"A lot of larger farmers and contractors are buying the mobile showers which I think is a good sign for the industry because the showers are being shared between four farmers at a time and cooperation like that has to be a positive thing."

A tenant farmer, Trevor, started farming at Low Bankside back in 1985. He currently farms beef, sheep and 60 acres of mixed arable crops. He has 200 beef cattle and is also wintering 1,000 sheep for other farmers.

He studied agriculture at Newton Rigg College in 1980 and spent a couple of years prior to that working for well-known Cark dairy farmer, George Lewis.

Trevor has been active within the NFU since 1998 when he started attending Cartmel branch meetings. He was chairman of the branch from 1999 until 2000. He is very interested in the auction system and is a director of Lancaster and Kendal District Auctions.

"Former Cumbria County Chairman Alistair Mackintosh will go down in history for setting up regular branch chairmen meetings and I for one think the NFU has never been as democratic as it is now because of this," said Trevor. "A grassroot member can raise an issue at a branch meeting whose chairman passes it on to the county chairman at the branch chairmen's meeting and within a couple of weeks the county chairman can raise that issue at NFU Council. Now that has to be a good thing.

"I hope to continue Alistair's good work and aim to steer Cumbrian farming in the right direction."

link Young Cumbrian farmers to quiz NFU president
link Rural Payments Agency 'no confidence' vote
link NFU Joins Fight To Save Cumbrian Cottage Hospitals

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