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