Page 1

Farmers Club AUTUMN 2015 • ISSUE 258

INSIDE Club news p4 TB in NZ deer p6 Harper Adams thrives p8 Irish extension service p10 Club AGM p12 RABI home p14 Financial controller p16 Golf championship p17 Christmas card p19 Under 30s p20 INSERTS Staff Christmas fund Ballot papers

Summer shows

Club reports from Royal Welsh, CLA Game Fair, Burwarton and Henley Royal Regatta (p5, 11, 17, 18, 19) for the latest Club news


Farmers Club Over 170 years of service to farming

3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL Patron – Her Majesty The Queen

FRONT COVER Class winning Gentons 007 James Bond from John and Joshua Brigg – celebrating a half century of Longhorn breeding at Burwarton Show. Photo: Disclaimer: The articles published in The Farmers Club Journal do not necessarily reflect the views of The Farmers Club. No responsibility for the quality of goods or services advertised in the magazine can be accepted by the publisher. Advertisements are included in good ­­­­ faith’. All rights reserved.


3 Chairman’s Comments

Broadband and global trade

4 Club News

Latest developments within the Club

6 TB lessons from New Zealand

How TB is being tackled in NZ deer population

8 Harper Adams thrives

Applied research is helping drive student numbers at the UK’s leading agricultural university


10 Extension work in Eire

Irish advisory service Teagasc shows what can be done

11 Livestock showing

Burwarton Show in Shropshire sets the standard

12 Farmers Club AGM report

Round-up of all the key decisions taken at this year’s Annual General Meeting of The Farmers Club

14 RABI home


A brand new facility to support farmers in old age

16 Financial control

Meet the Club’s new Financial Controller

17 Golf championship

The Farmers Club annual golf championship in Worcestershire

17 Show round-up

Royal Welsh Show, CLA Game Fair and Henley Royal Regatta

19 Christmas Card


Specially commissioned for The Farmers Club – order now

20 Under 30s

Under 30s Chairman looks forward

20 Pimm’s and Armourers

Under 30s enjoy fine dining and visit to City

21 Horses and berries

Under 30s member explains Kent business strategy

22 Club Information and Contacts

02 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Chairman’s Comments • Anne Chamberlain installed. Then we took our eye off the ball. Our private road, which also serves others, is concrete but the fibre optic cable trenches were refilled with rubble with a scant topping of cement, not concrete, which started to break up within days. Added to that was another indefinite delay in connection due to “unavoidable issues”. As I write – the old broadband clicks off again and the new router pilot light winks at me inertly!

EU Commissioner

Chairman’s Comments FARMLAND SEMINAR Who owns and farms the UK’s productive farmland - and why this matters is a special Club Seminar scheduled for Monday 19th October. Richard Binning of Savills, David Fursdon of James Dyson’s Beeswax Farming, and Greg Bliss, a past chairman of the Tenant Farmers Association, will debate the key issues, including whether new business structures are needed to decouple land ownership from practical farming. See p4/5 for details.

Digital deprivation I do not need summer weather to become overheated when it comes to the subject of rural broadband and cell phone reception. Our broadband goes down at least six times a day. Despite being within 12 miles of a cathedral city, the mobile phone signal is so feeble that perched on the garden wall is the only way to make or take calls. As the Rural Broadband Partnership web site says: “Broadband is no longer a nice to have – it is an essential part of everyday living… Broadband is now a UTILITY – if you haven’t got it, you are already at a disadvantage.” Too true. Our ‘cred’ with the digitally-savvy far-flung younger members of the family is near zero. Every delivery driver or city-based visitor wails in deprivation: “There is no mobile reception in this village”. Numerous local and central government schemes, rich in acronyms, offer solutions to extend rural broadband. But, until early this year, none seemed to help us. I can scarce contain my hollow laughter when a Minister declares that fast broadband will be extended to cover 95% of the UK population by 2016. The 5% missing out are the majority of the rural and farming population! So, it was with high hopes that I joined a local, and successful, campaign to bring commercial fibre optic broadband to our Northamptonshire village last spring. The required 30% of local broadband users signed up to the supplier, Gigaclear. (Meanwhile a Vodafone web-based phone gizmo had improved our cell phone reception, albeit the necessary internet connection still goes down half a dozen times a day). After various delays, in July the trenches were dug, the cable laid and a new wireless router

Irishman Phil Hogan is the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, arguably the most powerful influence on the policies shaping farming’s prospects. I agreed strongly with one of his points made when opening that wonderful annual rural gathering, the Royal Welsh Show. “Worldwide 150 million people enter the middle class every year. With increased means, these families will want increased food quality. No region is better placed to meet this demand than the European Union. Our key strength is that we make food and drink products of the highest quality, to high standards of safety, with an everincreasing emphasis on environmental protection”. For example, Glanbia – based in Mr Hogan’s home town of Kilkenny – has identified demand from China and other markets for reliably safe, branded baby milk powder and has invested £millions in a new dedicated production facility. Mr Hogan said recent reforms have made the Community more market-oriented; that important trade deals, including farm and food products, are being negotiated, including in crucial Asian markets; and that the Commission has tripled the Agrifood Promotion Budget to €200m over the next four years. Let’s hope these initiatives yield a tangible dividend.

Christmas Fund We tipped the waitress who served us during our two day visit to the Royal Welsh Show. She was friendly, alert to our needs and rearranged tables to accommodate friends with no fuss – just the sort of service we enjoy in the Club. There is no tipping in the Club – which certainly contributes to the relaxed atmosphere. However, in this Journal you will find a letter inviting you to contribute to the Staff Christmas Fund. Please take a moment to express your thanks.

“Our key strength is that we make food and drink products of the highest quality, to high standards of safety, with an everincreasing emphasis on environmental protection.” • 03

Stephen Skinner • Club News

Club News

Farmland Seminar

Summer Shows

A special Club Seminar entitled Who owns and farms the UK’s productive farmland - and why this matters is to be held at The National Liberal Club, 1, Whitehall Court on Monday 19th October from 3-7pm.

It was a real pleasure to attend the Royal Welsh Show and the CLA Game Fair again this year and hold drinks receptions at both. While the weather couldn’t quite make its mind up at the Royal Welsh whilst I was there (it did at the Game Fair on the Saturday!), pleasingly, and rather selfishly, it didn’t have any impact on our events.

To all at the Royal Welsh and the CLA Game Fair who made our visits possible can I thank you most sincerely and congratulate you all on what you achieved. • See for photos from the Club’s summer events

The Royal Welsh as ever was its wonderfully unique, family friendly, informative show that holds at its heart Welsh agriculture, the countryside and its products. The organization was superb and the welcome universally helpful and friendly. The CLA Game Fair, held in the grounds of the impressive Harewood House, again showed through its quality just why it is so popular. As with the Royal Welsh, we were afforded a warm and very efficient welcome. I was particularly delighted to see that, despite the weather, nearly everyone who said they would attend, did so, which made the event all the more pleasurable.

Richard Binning of Savills will open the seminar with some historical context and an analysis of just who does own and farm the UK’s farmland. David Fursdon, Chairman of James Dyson’s Beeswax Farming, will be the keynote speaker, followed by Greg Bliss, a past chairman of the Tenant Farmers Association, who now farms in Cambridgeshire. All three will address how ownership and occupancy impacts on sustainable food and energy production; on food security and soil health; on the rural economy and community, employment and housing; and on amenity, access and the environment. The seminar will consider some of farming’s biggest issues – does farming need new business structures to decouple ownership from farming; what is really happening behind the scenes; are commercial pressures and five year tenancies leading to short term thinking and damage to the vital top seven inches of soil; are the new ‘barons’ a force for good in British agriculture? The cost of attending is £35, including coffee/ tea on arrival and wine and canapés following the seminar. Book your place on-line at www. or contact Lisbeth Rune on 020 7930 3751 e-mail

Windsor Leadership Trust Bursaries The Farmers Club Charitable Trust is well known for its Agricultural Educator Awards, which are specifically designed to help those employed in agricultural education. Less well known are our bursaries awarded to emerging leaders within our sector, in its broadest sense, to attend the Windsor Leadership Trust development program. It is designed for leaders who have the potential to shape the future of their own organizations and/or sectors already, or soon will do, and in time society as a whole. Their focus is on self-development and self-awareness to equip individuals for the challenges of strategic leadership. Participants come from a broad cross-section of both the public and private sectors and are among the brightest and

04 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

the best. All who have attended have come away impressed, having learned much. The course is suited to those aged 35-45 (but NOT exclusively so), who already have significant leadership roles, or influence, within the agricultural sector. To steal a quote from the Trust’s website: “The opportunity to engage and reflect on the importance of leadership with such a diverse range of like-minded individuals was both a privilege and an inspiration” - Chief Superintendent Alan Mccrum, Police Service of Northern Ireland. If you are interested, or know someone who might be suitable, contact me on 020 7930 3751 or e-mail

Club News • Stephen Skinner

New Seasonal Menu Monday 7th September saw the launch of the new seasonal menu in the Restaurant, with Chef creating some mouth-watering dishes to tempt your Autumn taste buds. In the Pick section Cider Cured Smoked Ham Hock features alongside Duck, Pigeon and Salmon. Don’t worry… the Farmers Club Scotch Egg still remains! Your favourite Dishes of the Day such as the Classic British Fisherman’s Pie also continue and in Feast there are new appearances for Grouse, John Dory, Pork Belly and Mallard.

Club Calendar Diary Dates

Please check the dates carefully as they sometimes change and new dates are added for each issue. Details of Club events circulated in the previous issues are available from the Secretariat on 020 7930 3751. For more information on Club events, including further details on these events and new events as they are added to the Calendar, visit the Events area of the Club website

SEPTEMBER Buckingham Palace visit – FULL Friday 25th September

To book: Dial 020 7930 3557 Option 3 or e-mail or Do please remember that the maximum number of people on one table in the Restaurant is eight. If you have a larger group please contact Lynne to book a function room. I’m afraid that larger groups cannot be spread over two Restaurant tables. See you in September!

Lunch in the Club followed by tour of Buckingham Palace

Stoneleigh Park Visit - Ballot Wednesday 30th September Buckingham Palace

OCTOBER Har vest Festival Ser vice Tuesday 13th October Wonderful service with the choir at St Martin-in-the-Fields followed by Buffet Supper at the Club Application form in Harvest issue

Harvest Festival

The team has put together some really good packages for those wishing to hold a Christmas lunch or dinner party in one of our function rooms. Those that have eaten here in the past 12 months or so will have discovered that our food offering has undergone something of a revolution and the feedback we are getting is very, very positive.

Event at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall, London Apply on-line

Food and wine tour led by expert

Statoil Masters Tennis

DECEMBER Statoil Masters Tennis – FULL Friday 4th December Masters tennis at the Royal Albert Hall with supper in the Club beforehand

Nutcracker Ballet – FULL Friday 18th December English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at the London Coliseum with supper in the Club before

Nutcracker ballet

So, if you are thinking of holding such an event, do give Mrs Lynne Wilson a call on 020 7925 7100 or contact her at meetings@ and she will very happily let you have the details you need.

New Year’s Eve Supper Party – FULL Thursday 31st December Supper party in the Club with a stunning view of the firework celebrations

Apply on-line To book Club events and find further details as events are added to the Calendar, visit the Events area of the Club website

• Turn to p19 to order your Club Christmas cards • See enclosed insert to contribute to the Staff Christmas Fund

Farm Ownership Seminar Monday 19th October

Gourmet Visit to Tuscany - FULL Tuesday 20th - Friday 23rd October

Christmas Packages While personally I dread the sight of Christmas decorations and associated paraphernalia appearing in the shops way too early, this doesn’t mean we at the Club are not planning for this great celebration.

Insight into developments at the National Agricultural Centre in Warwickshire

New Year Party • 05

Fiona Bannerman • Farmers Club Charitable Trust

TB Free NZ – lessons from farmed deer test

Fiona Bannerman used a Farmers Club Charitable Trust bursary to investigate TB testing in farmed deer in New Zealand

“The success of this blood test has been recognised by The World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a valid test for diagnosis of TB in deer.”

WHEN discussing growth of the deer farming sector we have to remember that tuberculosis has the potential to have catastrophic effects, not just on individual herds, but on the industry as a whole. SAC Consulting Veterinary Services, a division of Scotland’s Rural College, has been investigating diagnostic tests for TB in farmed deer. In order to facilitate this work we are working closely with Dr John Fletcher on behalf of the British Deer Farms and Parks Association. We are also working with DEFRA, Animal and Plant Health Agency, the Veterinary Deer Society, and UK governments and supermarkets. New Zealand has taken a lead role in the work to eradicate TB, with significant success. I found it very interesting and encouraging that control of TB in livestock is possible. Therefore NZ was deemed the country of choice with which to collaborate.

Turning back the clock, deer farming in the UK was developing steadily until about 1988, when TB was diagnosed in several herds. In response a farmer-funded Deer Health Scheme was established in 1989 and has existed for many years. However, the Health Scheme was not accepted by the industry as the skin test utilised proved to be inadequate. Understandably, concern arose over subsequent movement restrictions, deer farmers lost confidence in the Scheme and so the existing Scheme has had no members for several years.

Industry ready to expand This uncertainty and nervousness caused the market for hinds to collapse and set deer farming back for 20 years. Currently the industry is seeking to expand. However, many of us are uneasy that the industry could experience similar setbacks and concerns have been raised that new deer herds have little security in purchasing breeding stock. In order to address these concerns SACCVS would like to revive the Deer Health Scheme using an alternative testing procedure, one already established and proven in NZ. The object of this would be to create a pool of accredited herds from which people could buy deer with reasonable confidence that they were not infected with TB. Therefore, a colleague and I undertook a study tour of NZ, to meet key opinion leaders and researchers within NZ’s Deer Industry, including deer farmers, specialist deer vets and scientists.

World-leading TB control NZ is considered a world leader in bovine TB control due to the approach involving, and funded by, both government and industry. Anyone who owns, or who is in charge of, cattle and/or deer have to be registered with the TBfree NZ programme. Regional committees, made up 06 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Farmers Club Charitable Trust • Fiona Bannerman

Staff at NZ’s DRL: Prof Frank Griffin (2nd right), Simon Liggett (far left) and Dr Rory O’Brien (far right).

Fiona Bannerman BVM&S MRCVS SAC Consulting Veterinary Services Inverness

of volunteer farmers and other local stakeholders, communicate, advocate and support the delivery of the strategy in each region. TBfree NZ, a part of Ospri (Operational Solutions for Primary Industries, a not-for-profit limited company created to help protect and enhance the reputation of New Zealand’s primary industries), has three main techniques to control, and eventually eradicate, TB in NZ: 1) Disease Management – ongoing TB testing of all cattle and deer in NZ, and subsequent slaughter of any animals suspected of having TB 2) Movement control – e.g. pre-movement testing, especially in areas with a high risk of TB infection 3) Control of wild animal vectors which spread TB – TBfree NZ reports that if it can keep the possum numbers low enough for long enough over large areas, they can eventually eradicate TB. Fiona Murray and I spent the majority of our time at NZ’s Disease Research Laboratory, where they have carried out pioneering work in the area of TB diagnostics in deer. Prof Frank Griffin and his team have developed a blood test, which has helped to reduce the number of infected deer herds in NZ from 250 to just two.

Blood test recognised This work has been nationally recognised within NZ as part of the ‘TBfree New Zealand’ programme and the success of this blood test has been recognised internationally by The World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as a valid test for diagnosis of TB in deer. The TB control protocol used for the majority of deer herds in NZ is:

Fiona Bannerman blood sampling deer with NZ Disease Research Laboratory staff Rory O’Brien and Simon Liggett.

1) Skin test – using bovine tuberculin only. 2) Any animal with reaction to skin test is blood sampled 10-30 days later. Following our visit to NZ, SAC Consulting is now investigating adoption of NZ’s blood test. DEFRA has stipulated that the blood test must only be used following the comparative skin test, using both avian and bovine tuberculin. Unfortunately, this is not in line with NZ’s skin testing protocol. The successful establishment of NZ’s blood test in GB cannot be guaranteed at this point in time; preliminary testing must be undertaken first. Once test performance under GB conditions is ascertained this knowledge will be shared with those involved in various aspects of the venison industry.

Visit funded by The Farmers Club, MBIE NZ and Moredun Foundation Scholarship ( See www.thefarmersclub. com/library for full report.

Bovine TB in deer – THE FACTS • Caused by bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis) • Infectious disease in deer, cattle, badgers and many other mammals. • One of the biggest challenges facing the cattle farming industry today. • TB surveillance in GB based on post-mortem inspection of farmed deer and screening pre-export

• Notifiable • Unlike cattle there is currently no routine statutory TB testing programme for GB deer herds • APHA may require the testing of deer at owner’s expense • Consequences of a deer herd becoming infected with TB, in terms of movement restrictions, can be disastrous • 07

Charles Abel • Education

Harper Adams agenda

Harper Adams University aspires to be the industry’s go-to centre for research and training. Charles Abel finds out more

Harper’s new Jean Jackson Trust Entomology Centre hosts the former entomology department of Imperial University. Improving bio-control agents is one goal. By identifying the plant compounds that attract natural pest enemies plant breeders could produce more attractive crops, or artificial diets could be created to accelerate commercial multiplication of predators, or to spike fields to boost natural predator numbers, explains Prof Simon Leather (left).

HARPER Adams University is bent on claiming top slot in the UK food and agriculture higher education sector. Judging by current achievements it is well on track to do so.

teaching, with 3,223 under-graduate students, 237 taught post-graduates and 2,500 shortcourse students, making it three times larger than Cirencester’s Royal Agricultural University, it claims.

Its focus is to train the next generation of agricultural leaders, fill gaps in the applied research environment and stimulate innovation, enthuses Vice-Chancellor Dr David Llewellyn. Uniquely in the UK Harper offers higher education across the whole agri-food chain, from primary production to food processing, including engineering.

The teaching seems to work, with an average of 96% of graduates securing employment over the past seven years, and the University ranking seventh in the UK’s national student satisfaction survey. Key to that success is industry placements, which can be as far away as China, where the University has strong links with Beijing University of Agriculture.

It has degree-awarding powers and is now the UK’s largest provider of agri-food sector

Students from non-traditional rural backgrounds are being courted, with the

08 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Education • Charles Abel university’s first 30-second TV advertising feature airing in the summer. “We know there is a demographic dip in 18-19 year-olds, and we want fresh thinkers coming into the industry with new ideas, so we’re appealing to young people from urban backgrounds, who feel the vocational appeal of a job in the sector, and we can instil the necessary understanding here,” Dr Llewellyn enthuses.

Applied research More than half Harper’s applied research is rated ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’, with a goal for the campus to be seen as a natural home for such work. Dairy Crest is currently spending £4m to move its Innovation Centre from nearby Cruddington to Harper Adams. The campus also hosts the National Centre for Precision Farming, Soil and Water Management Centre, and the Centre for Integrated Pest Management. “It all helps bring industry connections on-site,” says Dr Llewellyn. A Centre for Precision Farming in Dairying is the next goal. Engineering is a particular strength, and one Dr Llewellyn believes could ultimately have a greater impact than on global agriculture than plant breeding, pesticides or animal genomics. “Smart mechanisation, exploiting sensor technology and data analysis, needs stitching together into systems that will benefit production and the environment,” he says. One ambition is to tap into AgriTech’s £90m fund to create four or five UK Centres for Agricultural Innovation. A pitch is currently being considered for a Centre for Innovation in Agricultural Engineering and Precision Farming in nearby Newport, to host SME businesses and further develop links with major manufacturers.

Agri-engineering Sophisticated workshops in the University’s £3m Agricultural Engineering Training Centre show the potential. “One project aims to move the focus of smart technology from pesticides to machines, so we can selectively control weeds mechanically, in a way that is benign to the environment,” explains Head of Engineering Prof Simon Blackmore.

“Thanks to fibre optics the laser we are using is no more powerful than a 40W tractor light bulb.” But does it work? Tests on seedlings have been promising, and a field prototype is being developed. The Centre is also working on controlled traffic farming, to minimise wheeling damage, with a 20% yield benefit and 50% fuel saving claimed from ‘intelligent’ tractor work. “Up to 90% of the energy used for cultivations is removing damage caused by tractors,” Prof Blackmore notes. Discharging and collecting bales on tramlines is a recent focus.

“Industry needs more technically trained graduates and at the moment that need is not being met.”

Food technology The West Midlands Regional Food Academy opened on campus in 2009, in a former Victorian milking parlour. The state-of-the-art facility includes test kitchens, small production lines, tasting rooms and a fully functional cookery demonstration theatre. Meat is a prime focus. “But compared with Europe the UK’s way of supporting the food science and technology sector is disgraceful,” says Ralph Early, Head of the Department of Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain. “There is a dire shortage of food scientists and technicians, and it is even worse with food engineers. It could be the demise of the UK food and farming industry, since food safety legislation means companies can’t operate without a trained technical manager.”

Weed-zapping robotic lasers are one Harper engineering vision – Prof Simon Blackmore.

Indeed, the whole industry needs technically proficient leaders and vibrant research and development. Harper Adams believes it can provide both. Later this autumn it’s Chancellor, HRH The Princess Royal, will host a special reception in the City of London. If the AgriTech bid is successful it could be an even more exciting event than expected.

The laser weeder being developed with Syngenta uses image recognition to identify and locate weeds, so a very low powered laser can hit their growing points, rendering them dormant. “We could use more power to kill the weeds, but we want to use the least power possible for the desired result. An automated device working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can revisit the crop every week until the canopy closes, ensuring productive agriculture without chemical pollution or the costs of a tractor, sprayer, operator and chemicals,” he explains.

HRH The Princess Royal and Vice-Chancellor David Llewellyn (second from right) examine current research. • 09

Charles Abel • Advice

Advice that works

During the Club’s summer tour of Ireland the impact of state-supported advisory service Teagasc was all too evident. Charles Abel examines its philosophy UNUSUALLY within Europe Ireland has a largely state-funded research and advisory service, geared to boost economic success ahead of other policy objectives. It is succeeding, despite severe government cuts. “Our clear focus is on the commercial profitability of agriculture, which is quite unusual within Europe. Other issues are relevant, but only in so far as they impinge on the competitiveness of agriculture,” Teagasc director Prof Gerry Boyle told the Farmers Club tour earlier this summer. Farmers need research, education and extension services – it’s a three-legged stool – remove one and you have a problem – Teagasc Director Prof Gerry Boyle.

Knowledge is the lever of riches, so bridging the gap between research and practical farming is Teagasc’s big challenge, he explained. “Research that isn’t relevant and used is useless. And unless the advisory service is working hand-in-glove with research, it won’t work. Some think the private sector can deliver, but that ignores the level of understanding and connection that is needed between researchers, advisors and farmers. “Advisory activity is a contact sport – it’s how you connect that is the key, and that is challenging when researchers, advisors and farmers all come from different perspectives. Packaging the research for use on farms is, for us, a particularly fascinating challenge.”

Teagasc mission An autonomous government agency supporting science-based innovation in the agri-food sector and wider bioeconomy, to firstly underpin profitability, secondly ensure competitiveness, and only thirdly aid sustainability.

10 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Cascade advice Teagasc uses a robust cascade model, whereby advice flows from research farms onto Better Farms, which receive intense support to become exemplar commercial demonstration units for the 13,000 discussion group members. Embedding new thinking in practical whole-farm systems is seen as key.

Significantly, Teagasc is only part funded by government, raising around €49m of its €170m budget itself. With no major producer levies to draw on its advice carries some sort of fee, raising €12m/year, mainly through an annual membership of €150/ year, discussion group fees of €400/year, and paid-for consultancy. “Compared with an accountant or vet it is very good value.” Severe cuts in government funding have made budgeting tough. “We’ve had six years of austerity already; in the UK it is only just about to start,” Prof Boyle noted. Staff numbers have tumbled from 1600 to 1100 since 2009, 40 advisory offices have shut and a recruitment embargo continues. “The positive is that it has flushed out what can become a flabby public organisation.” The advisory model has changed too, of necessity, from predominantly one-to-one, to one-to-group.

Group work works Surprising benefits have resulted. “Peer-to-peer influence can be very good. Our research shows discussion group membership for a typical 50-cow farm can, of itself, boost gross margin by €250/ha.” That is 25,000/year on a 100ha farm. Scotland also has a state-supported approach to group advice. Indeed, SAC (now SRUC) advised the Irish government in the 1980s when Teagasc was formed. “We often use the English model as an example of why we need to keep our public service here,” Prof Boyle continued. “With all the challenges agriculture faces anything else is utter nonsense and a waste of public resources.”

Discussion group approach works well.

Local shows • Sally Whittall

Local show thrives

Vibrant livestock classes are at the heart of local show success, says Club member Sally Whittall BURWARTON Show in Shropshire has earned huge respect in West Midlands farming circles as one of the best one-day agricultural events of its kind. Judging by this year’s event its future is assured, with numerous young stock handlers taking part. Ranging from about 7 years old through to teenagers, there were an encouraging number of junior stock handlers preparing and showing their charges. With their grooming kits in hand, the youngsters washed and scrubbed their animals until hooves and horns were shining along with fluffed up tails and gleaming coats. They were not only competing in special junior classes with lambs or calves, but boys and girls as young as six, were preparing pedigree cattle, from Hereford to Highlands, through to sizeable Shropshire, Ryeland and Suffolk sheep and commercial butchers’ lambs.

Next generation professional livestock showing was alive and well at Burwarton as six year-old Isabel Cummings finishes off fluffing the tail of a Wenlock heifer before the grand parade.

Held traditionally on the first Thursday in August, Burwarton has evolved over its 100 year history from a traditional agricultural show into a fun day for the whole family, organized by an amazing show team led by manager Glenys Allen. Set on a perfect site on Viscount and Viscountess Boyne’s Burwarton Estate between Ludlow and Bridgnorth this year’s event hosted a truly magnificent parade of livestock – including pigs and goats alongside cattle, sheep and horses. “We are still essentially an agricultural event, but as the industry goes out to meet the people we all help to grow food for, it is become a meeting of town and country and we strive to include something for every walk of life and all age groups too,” explained Chairman Mike Bradbury.

Valais Blacknose dual purpose from Switzerland was shown in pure breed classes.

Young handler Louis aged eight with six week old Highland calf, Molly.

Start when they’re young... Daisy aged nine shows unicorn “pony” Rosie.

Lessons being learned in ring technique.

He was particularly pleased to have attracted more than 50 show exhibits in the pig classes, just 20 short of those forward at the much bigger Royal Welsh Show. New this year was a show of rare breed poultry – fast becoming more popular – vintage Land Rovers and a bee-keeping display for wouldbe apiarists. More than 50 competitors took part for the third year running in the shearing classes, now a permanent fixture. With so many young people taking a major part in the preparation at home, and bringing forward to display their livestock on the day, the show remains a firm favourite in the region’s agricultural calendar. Share your news Members can send their farming news and photos to

Photos: Hannah de Haan, fine artist specialising in bespoke commissions, animal and child portraiture and photography • 11

Charles Abel • Annual Meeting

Report on the 2015 Annual General Meeting The 173rd Annual General Meeting chaired by Anne Chamberlain was held at The Farmers Club on Tuesday, 7th July 2015. The following is a summary of the Minutes, full copies of which can be obtained by email from the Secretary

Newly elected – 2016 Chairman Richard Butler – immensely conscious of the Club’s tremendous heritage and the key part it has played in British agriculture over so many decades.

Minutes, Club Accounts and Annual Report THE Minutes of the 172nd Annual General Meeting of the Club were approved and the Report and Audited Accounts of the Club for the year ended 31st December 2014 were adopted unanimously. Honorary Treasurer George Jessel highlighted some key figures from 2014, including income up to £1.7 million, a good increase on the previous year’s £1.6 million. However, ground rent and service charge, and water rates, came to approximately £300,000, and would continue to rise, because the building was leased, not owned. Salaries and Related Costs were also up, at just over £400,000, against £315,000 from the previous year, reflecting a lot of staff changes and a lot of rationalisation. An Operating Surplus of £241,000 was slightly down on the previous year, despite subscriptions and income being up, mainly due to the complete refurbishment of the 8th floor, at a cost of £150,000, and kitchen renovations costing £100,000.

Election of the Club Chairman and the Vice-Chairman Richard Butler and Tim Bennett were proposed and unanimously agreed upon as Chairman and Vice-Chairman for 2016. 12 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Proposing the election of Richard Butler as Chairman for 2016 Chair of Trustees Barclay Forrest said Richard was very much a family man, with one son and two daughters, and very happily married to Sue. He is a mixed farmer in Wiltshire, near Pewsey, with 300 dairy cows supplying Waitrose with milk and veal calves, while the arable side specialises in seed crops, milling wheat and malting barley. Richard is an ex-chairman of the 300 Cow Club and past Chairman of NFU Cereals, and must be quite a good trainer of men, since his two Vice-Chairmen turned out to be Meurig Raymond and Peter Kendall, who both went on to be NFU President. He was a very successful director of NFU Mutual for ten years and is a very keen member of the tennis and shooting fraternity. Paul Heygate seconded the proposal, which was approved unanimously. Replying, Richard said he was immensely conscious of the Club’s tremendous heritage and the key part it has played in British agriculture over so many decades. Proposing the election of Tim Bennett as Vice-Chairman for 2016 Trustee Nicki Quayle, said he was raised as a ‘townie’ in the West Midlands, but aged 14 he cycled to a nearby

Annual Meeting • Charles Abel farm to milk Jersey cows, and thus this first generation farmer was born. After Seale Hayne he developed a dairy herd and 10,000 egg-laying poultry unit in South-West Wales and became NFU President in 2004, implementing its largest ever reform, including staff changes and an HQ move to Stoneleigh. He has been a board member of FWAG, founding Director of FWAG Cymru, Vice President of COPA, Chairman of DEFRA’s Environmental Task Force which implemented the dairy ‘Road Map’, and AHDB DairyCo chair. He now chairs the Food Standards Agency. Tim farms in partnership with his wife, Sue, and they have two children who live locally and two grandchildren. He enjoys walking and gardening, unusually for a farmer, and is a keen supporter of West Bromwich Albion Football Club. Jimmy McLean seconded the proposal, which was approved unanimously.

Honorary Treasurer George Jessel was re-elected as Honorary Treasurer for 2016.

Auditors The Chairman and Committee recommended that haysmacintyre continue in office, which was agreed.

Chairman’s comments The chairman stressed that there were now 56 bedrooms in the Club, partly due to the conversion of the Muddiman Suite and improvements on the 8th floor. She said the myth that it was difficult to get rooms at the Club was rather overplayed, and encouraged members to make bookings on the web or phone up. She paid tribute to the great efforts being made to ensure the correct standards were being achieved within the Club, with a remarkable all round improvement in performance of the staff and the team. A major programme of further improvements to the Club was

being investigated, which would see all areas brought up to a very high standard, with more public and function room space and an enlarged kitchen. The Club had 5,266 members, email details for 3,800, 1,000 members visiting the website, 828 Tweeters and over 200 people on Facebook. The Communications Committee was working on a strategy to ensure that all members are being reached in a way that is acceptable to them, including the Journal and other existing methods. The Club’s membership stood at 60% farmers:40% ancillary. Before ancillary people can become members they must establish their links with farming and the countryside. Relatively few London clubs or livery companies insist on that link, she noted. Membership Committee Chairman, Alison Ritchie, was planning a Welcome Reception for new members in September.

2015 Chairman Anne Chamberlain – myth that it is difficult to get rooms at the Club is over-played.

The Farmers Club Monday evening lectures at 6.30pm, with an optional dinner after, were set to continue with 2016 Chairman Richard Butler, and possibly 2017 Chairman Tim Bennett too.

Other office holders Roddy Loder-Symonds, the Club’s youngest ever Chairman, ended his term as a Vice President and became an Honorary Vice President. Barclay Forrest ended his period as Chairman of Trustees and was unanimously voted in as a Vice President. Julian Sayers was made Chairman of Trustees and Jimmy McLean a Trustee.

Any Other Business

2016 Honorary Treasurer George Jessel – operating surplus of £241,000 was slightly down in 2014, mainly due to 8th floor refurbishment and kitchen renovations.

Norfolk member John Ross asked whether potential new members needed to be landowners. The Chairman said they did not – provided applicants had a strong interest in, and were supporters of, the countryside and farming, they would most likely qualify.

Rule changes to take effect 1 January 2016 A committee chaired by Jimmy McLean had looked at the Committee structure and its effectiveness, and proposed some rule changes: Rule 11: a minimum of four trustees to be responsible for the finances of the Club. Agreed. Rule 12: four Vice Presidents to serve for five years each. Agreed. Rule 13: Committee of Management to be known as the General Committee. Agreed.

Rule 14: scope to co-opt four members on to the General Committee, normally the Chairman of the Farmers Club Charitable Trust and the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Under 30s, plus another with expertise as may be required, each to stand for one year only. Agreed.

2016 Vice Chairman Tim Bennett – South-West Wales dairy farmer, former NFU President and current Chairman of the Food Standards Agency. • 13

Rob Harris • Welfare

£6m Retirement Home For Farmers “In 2014, RABI Paid out £1.9 million in grants to around 1,400 individuals and families and welfare officers made more than 1,800 visits and helped people claim £380,000 in state benefits.“

THE Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution has spent £6 million developing a residential care home in Suffolk, primarily for people from the farming world.

residential homes – Manson House and Beaufort House in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. Manson House dates back to the 16th Century and is a Grade II* listed building.

Manson House in Bury St Edmunds has undergone an extensive renovation programme over the past three years. HRH the Duke of Gloucester, who cut the first turf to launch the building project, returned in his capacity of charity president to formally open the new facilities in July and unveil a plaque dedicated to Margaret Stearn.

Home Manager Carole Smith said: “At the outset we thought the project would take 18 months, but it soon became clear that it was going to take longer. We asked the residents if they wished to stay – and they did.

Much of the project was funded by Margaret Stearn’s legacy to the charity of more than £4 million – the biggest legacy in the charity’s long 155-year history.

“The revamp will give us four extra flats and better accommodation. We’ve our own little community, here. Residents are still encouraged to live independently, and because we are slap bang in the middle of Bury St Edmunds everything is close by.”

RABI is a grant-making welfare charity which helps farming people in financial difficulty. Launched in 1860, the charity’s headquarters is in Oxford. But there are teams of welfare officers and regional managers (responsible for fundraising) right across England and Wales. The charity was founded by Essex farmer John Mechi, who was concerned about poverty in the industry. It seems times change, but need doesn’t.

£1.9m of grants RABI is governed by a council of trustees and the charity’s patron is HM The Queen. RABI helps people who have suffered accidents or ill-health, or whose livelihoods are threatened by such things as bad weather or diseased animals. Help is tailored to individual need. In 2014, £1.9 million was paid out in grants to around 1,400 individuals and families. Welfare officers made more than 1,800 visits and helped people claim £380,000 in state benefits.

Independent living Bringing Manson House into the 21st Century involved creating 23 self-contained apartments for independent living and refurbishing 31 ensuite residential rooms. Structural alterations in the main house saw all bedrooms provided with private showers and WC facilities, with all previous sanitary fittings removed and replaced with fittings more suitable for elderly people. The heating system in the house was completely outdated and inefficient, so a modern system was installed. Electrical wiring – also out of date and not compliant with current regulations – was replaced throughout.

Regular financial support is given to farmers and farmworkers of all ages, as well as one-off emergency payments.

• T urn to p19 to order Club Christmas cards, proceeds from which help support RABI and RSABI.

Voluntary income is the main source of funding. There are 54 voluntary county committees who are the lifeblood of RABI. Income is also generated from legacies and investments.

Residential homes The charity helps many people with care home and home-help costs, and owns and runs two

14 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

RABI’s Manson House in Bury St Edmunds is a flagship retirement facility specifically geared to the needs of the farming community.

Welfare • Rob Harris The project got underway with the construction of Cowper Close, six self-contained apartments, which completed in May 2013. Manson Court was completed in October 2014 and Margaret Stearn House in February 2015. Developers Kier used more than 60 subcontractors throughout the project. In order to lift pre-cast concrete floor planks onto a bedroom wing of Manson Court, a 200 tonne crane was required, one of the biggest in the country. Cream tea receptions were held during a two-day celebration in July to re-launch Manson House. His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester was part of a guest list that included business and county committee supporters, RABI staff, representatives from Kier and other project workers, plus around 20 dignitaries, including High Sheriff Judith Shallow and the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston.

Home manager Carole Smith leads HRH The Duke of Gloucester on a tour of Manson House, its residents and supporters.

Big decision RABI chairman Chris Riddle said: “It’s been an interesting three years. Manson was always a wonderful home, providing wonderful care, but the facilities were past their best. We were faced with a big decision, what do we do? “Big decisions like the one made to undertake such a major project don’t come lightly, but the end result speaks volumes. It was always a major project, but in truth, when we started, we didn’t realise the sheer complexity involved. We’ve got a wonderful team here at Manson and they’ve kept smiling throughout.” Paul Burrows, the charity’s chief executive, added: “What we have done is safeguard the long-term future of Manson House. We have not shirked away from our responsibilities and the finished buildings are far better equipped to meet the needs of residents in this day and age. We believe what we’ve created is not just a flagship for the charity, but for elderly care in general.”

HRH the Duke of Gloucester unveils a plaque dedicated to Margaret Stearn, watched by RABI chairman Chris Riddle. • 15

Charles Abel • Staff Profile

New financial controller Zarreena “I’ve seen how passionate people can be in other industries, but farming people really are so much more passionate about what they do.”

New financial controller Zarreena Neeson – brings bags of experience of hospitality sector finance. A PASSION for the industry surpassing anything seen in other sectors is what has struck the Club’s new financial controller, Zarreena Neeson, since she arrived at 3 Whitehall Court on June 1st. “I’ve seen enthusiastic people in other industries, but farming people really are so much more passionate about what they do. And the Club has such an amazing history too, it has a real genuine reason for being here, as a meeting place to plan how to feed the nation, not just as a social venue in London.” After 10 years of experience in financial management, both in hospitality and City insurance firm Lonmar Global Risks, Zarreena believes this is her perfect job.

Working at the Farmers Club has needed a subtle shift in commercial thinking. “When I’m looking at bedroom revenues I have to remember this is a members Club, and we are here to give members what they want, not just drive profit. So the yield figures may be lower than I’m used to, but the occupancy levels are still just as high. It takes a split second to remember this is a Club, so it is fine.” Zarreena, who grew up in Enfield, north London, has a Higher National Diploma in Finance from Greenwich University and is working towards membership of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

“I love the hospitality industry, the buzz of it, and knowing what I do makes a difference. It is more than producing paper, it is about helping to give people a good experience. I have always enjoyed getting involved with guests and the sense of doing something purposeful for them.”

“This is the first job I’ve had where I feel I could do it until I retire. The Club is such a nice, comfortable place, the members are lovely, there is a great team to work with, and Chief Executive Stephen Skinner and Club Manager Virginia Masser have been so supportive. With such a healthy level of membership The Club is obviously doing something right!”

That applied in previous roles at the London Bridge Hotel and Kensington House Hotel, and more recently at The Cadogan Hotel in Sloane Street and five-star boutique hotel No.11 Cadogan Gardens, for which she was head-hunted by owners Lord Cadogan Estates.

Zarreena lives with husband Andrew in Bexleyheath, in Kent’s Garden of England. Free time revolves around ‘mini-adventures’ with five year-old son Oliver, including visits to Willows Farm Park in Hertfordshire and Old MacDonald’s Farm Park in Essex.

16 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Golf • Martin Taylor

Club Championship CLA Game Fair

FIFTY one golfers visited Blackwell Golf Club near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire on Wednesday 8th July, confident in winning The Mac Hayward Putter (men) or The Eric Wilson Trophy (ladies). The mature parkland course is currently ranked number one in Worcestershire and listed amongst the Top 200 courses in Britain and Ireland by Golf World, which describes it as “the quintessential English gem.” Over the years we have experienced variable weather conditions, from bright warm sunshine to lashing rain and flooding. This year was an ‘in between’ year with showers and wind. Led off by our Captain John Gittins, competition was fierce but friendly and the results were very close. Both the men’s and ladies competitions were played on a Stableford points scoring basis, and there were also prizes for the longest drive and nearest the pin.

Despite the weather trying its hardest to spoil our parade, over 50 members and invited guests enjoyed a convivial drink and canapés at the Harewood House CLA Game Fair on Saturday 1st August. In addition to our members and their guests we were honoured and delighted to welcome Henry Robinson, President of the CLA, Ross Murray, Vice President of the CLA (and son of a previous Secretary of the Club), and Helen Woolley, Director General of the CLA. As ever, the Game Fair itself was an outstanding display of so many aspects of country life with real quality shining through. The 2016 CLA Game Fair is scheduled to take place at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire on Friday 29th – Sunday 31st July.

The ladies competition was won by Joy Young (30 points), second place Barbara Craven (27 points) with Jane Downes (24 points) in third place. The ladies longest drive was won by Hazel Byford and the ladies nearest the pin by Chairman Anne Chamberlain. Jeremy Turner (31 points) won the men’s competition on count back from Martin Shaw (31 points) with Len Brookes (30 points) in third place. The men’s longest drive went to Dudley Hendricks and the nearest the pin was won by David Rose. The John Roberts trophy for the Golden Oldies (70+) was won by Martin Taylor (31 points). The work involved in organising this event is tremendous and Martin Shaw is to be congratulated on ensuring we had a very successful and happy day.

• See for photos from all the Club’s summer events • 17

Lisbeth Rune • Club Event

Farming Figures A quick look at... rural crime... told through some key statistics

Fabulous day out at Henley

Farmers Club members and their guests enjoyed a splendid day out at the Club’s private enclosure at the Henley Royal Regatta

£37.8 million

Cost of rural crime to UK economy in 2014


Drop in cost of rural crime in 2014 compared with a high of £44.5m in 2013


Tools are the number one target for thieves


Respondents saying cybercrime is a growing problem in rural communities

One third

Drop in tractor thefts after £600,000 spent on special police units to tackle farm vehicle crime

17 arrests

Daily arrests as a result of over 1000 leads provided to 0800 555111


Rural crime cost in Essex, UK’s worst hit county

25 years Unbroken record of maintaining anonymity of crime leads provided to Crimestoppers


Value of pesticides stolen from a single farm chemical store. Solar panels also being targeted


High-value tractors targeted by criminals Sources: NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey 2015, Crimestoppers UK

18 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

ON Sunday 5th July almost 60 members and their guests visited the Henley Royal Regatta, repeating a very successful previous Club visit to the event in 2012. It was a wonderful way to spend a quintessential summer’s day – amongst fellow members and friends, enjoying some of the event’s finest hospitality in the Temple Island Enclosure, just moments from the start of the racing and right at the heart of the action.

throughout the day and everyone relaxing in the lovely riverside chalet and garden. The programme started with arrival at Temple Island Enclosure in time for morning coffee – ideally timed for the 36 members and guests who had travelled by organised coach from The Club in London. A pre-lunch Champagne reception followed, before a fourcourse sit-down luncheon. A one and a half hour river cruise along the Regatta course was included, before afternoon tea was served.

The private Farmers Club enclosure, right beside the course, had rowing passing by just metres away, with drinks flowing

All in all the day was a great success, with lovely food and a wonderful atmosphere, reflects event organiser Lisbeth Rune.

Christmas Card


“No 3” From an original watercolour by Tim Rose

Welsh Show reception ON Monday 20th July members and their guests enjoyed a first-rate reception at what turned out to be a record-breaking Royal Welsh Show. Over 242,000 visitors attended the event, and was considered to be the largest agricultural event in Europe, which was attended by Prime Minister David Cameron for the second time in two years. The Farmers Club reception was staged in the Vice-President’s Marquee at the showground, and was particularly well catered for, with excellent food and wine, and first class service.

This year’s Farmers Club Christmas Card features an original painting commissioned by the Club. The card, which measures 171mm x 121 mm (7” x 5”), is printed with the Club logo and the greeting “With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year”. Surplus on the sale of the cards will be donated to the RABI of England, Wales and N. Ireland and the RSABI of Scotland, both of which are dedicated to helping members of the farming community facing hardship. The card is available in packs of 10 and may be bought at Reception or ordered from the General Office using the order form below. The price per pack is £8.00 including VAT and second class postage (UK only). Please place your order promptly to avoid any disappointment. Members are requested, if possible, to collect their cards in person as it enables the Club to make a larger donation to the chosen charities.

CHRISTMAS CARD ORDER FORM: To: The Secretary, The Farmers Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL I would like to order ………… packs of Christmas Cards (£8.00 per pack of 10). I will collect the cards from Reception on ……………………………………….. (approximate date if known)/please deliver to the address below* (*delete as necessary).

Payment can either be made by cheque made payable to The Farmers Club, by Visa, Mastercard or Maestro card. I enclose a cheque for £………………… (add £2.50 postage for orders of 5-12 packs) Card Holder’s Name: Expiry Date:

It provided a wonderful opportunity to relax with friends and fellow Club members after a busy day at what was a superbly organised show, with fine displays of Welsh livestock, food and drink, arts, crafts and entertainment. Next year’s Royal Welsh Show is scheduled to take place on 18-21 July 2016.

Security No:

Signature Address

Post Code Telephone: Email: • 19

John Jaques, Chairman; Mary Bell, Vice Chairman; Lisbeth Rune, Secretary • U30s

Chairman’s Jottings Before harvest The U30s Committee had two exciting announcements for its members. First, we launched the U30s logo, which will be proudly displayed on all our circulations. The simple but effective logo will make all our event invites and forms clearly distinguishable. Second, The Club has agreed to sponsor an U30s member to attend the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2016. The Scholarship application process launch coincided with OFC chairman Al Brooks kindly agreeing to be our after dinner speaker in July (see story right). Deadline for applications is Friday 9 October. Our Autumn Farm Walk weekend on the Isle of Wight runs from 23-25 October and the next dinner in The Club is on Friday 27 November. By the time you read this Baroness Trumpington will also have been our pre-dinner speaker at the September Dining Evening. • Sign up to The U30s Facebook page for regular updates

Contact John for more information John Jaques U30 Chairman 07799 633304

OFC Scholarship The Farmers Club has kindly offered to sponsor an Under 30s member to attend the 2016 Oxford Farming Conference ( from 5 – 7 January 2016. The event comprises a number of fringe events on Tuesday 5 January followed by two full days of educational seminars, sessions and a debate in the Oxford Colleges. The Scholarship includes overnight accommodation and delegate dinners for 5 & 6 January, but not travel. Application forms (available on-line at www. - news) should be returned to Lisbeth Rune, The Farmers Club 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL (e-mail: by Friday 9 October. 20 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Pimm’s O’clock With harvest and a busy summer fast approaching the U30s gathered on the terrace, on what was a wonderfully warm evening, for our annual Pimm’s and Supper event on Friday 17 July. Following drinks, members and guests were delighted by a very seasonal three course dinner in the Eastwood Room; starting with chicken liver mousse and toasted speciality breads; a main course of spring lamb; polished off in a timely Wimbledon manner with a Kentish strawberry shortbread stack.

our Chairman ensuring we were treated to the VIP area!

Our speaker for the evening was Al Brooks, Chairman of the Oxford Farming Conference, Trustee of the Addington Fund and Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the year 2010. Al explained how he progressed through a number of farming businesses, helping develop each with entrepreneurship and diversification at its heart. He stressed that young people in agriculture must not be afraid to seize any opportunities that come along.

Afterwards we returned with our exceptional guide Harvie, who joined us with his wife June for afternoon tea in The Club, accompanied by Champagne for good measure, of course.

Following an after dinner drink at the Bar, we headed to the U30s usual night-time haunt, Opal…

On Saturday, by kind initiation of Club stalwart Mr Harvie Peebles we had a fascinating tour of Armourers’ Hall, home of the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers. Nestled between skyscrapers in the heart of the City the very impressive 19th century building revealed gold leaf walls clad with 14th century armour and weaponry. Amazingly, it was untouched by both world wars.

JOHNNY HAWKING Job Title: Assistant Surveyor – Dalcour Maclaren Company Name: Farmers Club Role: U30s Committee member Interests: Game and clay pigeon shooting, rock climbing, farming, rural current affairs

U30s • John Jaques, Chairman; Mary Bell, Vice Chairman; Lisbeth Rune, Secretary

Kent berries and horses I am fortunate enough to be able to balance a passion for farming and growing with my equestrian interests, both enthusiasms having developed from a young age. Shortly after completing agricultural college, and having worked for several other growers both before and after college, I returned to the family’s Clock House Farm, where an opportunity had arisen to run a soft fruit farm, Salmans, which was off-lying to our main business. During my last two years at school I also set up a cross-country course, where we now have 100 fences and run four events a year, from Hunter Trials to National Qualifiers.

Cross-country course I have continued to build and develop the crosscountry course post-college, so we now sell a wide range of portable cross-country jumps, under the name of Bonfleur Cross County Course (named after the area of land the course is located on). Familiar with the tight margins in agriculture we are able to produce top quality, strong fences for less than many others in the market. I have been managing Salmans for over 18 months now and it is turning into the enterprise we wanted, following a long period of restoration. This should come to an end by March 2016 – 27 months after we started. It includes new tunnels, support systems, plant material, irrigation, and the necessary basics; office, workshop, tractor shed, cold store, etc.

Raspberries and blackberries As a business we grow a wide range of fruit, including Driscoll’s Maravilla raspberries and Driscoll’s Victoria blackberries at Salmans. Victoria, from the USA, was new to the industry last year. It is a real game changer, being sweet tasting and completely different to a traditional more tart blackberry. It is definitely worth looking out for on supermarket shelves, it will surprise you!

There is so much we can do now to grow the very best berries the plants can give us. As a young farmer in a very dynamic and fast changing area of agriculture this is very exciting. Our sector has seen rapid expansion, the total volume of British raspberries rising 50% since 2010 and the total volume of British raspberries produced rising from 8,763 tonnes to 10,746 tonnes from 2013 to 2014 alone.

Living wage legislation

“With challenge, we hope, comes innovation, change and opportunity.”

With challenges such as the living wage legislation, which will see up to an 11% rise in our cost of production, we need to be the very best at what we do. But with challenge we hope comes innovation, change and opportunity. So we must be active, fast moving and optimistic to secure the best future and allow us to achieve our growth plans in both sectors year on year.

OLI PASCALL Clock House Farm Ltd Salmans Farm, Penshurst, Kent 07972 027591 • 21

The Farmers Club • Club Information

Club Information

020 7930 3557 • Office Holders Patron – Her Majesty The Queen HONORARY VICE PRESIDENTS Peter Jackson CBE, Roddy Loder-Symonds, Sir David Naish DL, John Parker THE COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT OF THE CLUB 2015 VICE PRESIDENTS Barclay Forrest OBE, Mark Hudson, Norman Shaw CBE, Mrs Susan Kilpatrick OBE PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN Anne Chamberlain TRUSTEES Jimmy McLean (effective 1 Jan 2016), Mrs Nicki Quayle, Julian Sayers (Chairman), Paul Heygate VICE-CHAIRMAN Richard Butler HONORARY TREASURER George Jessel DL IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN Jimmy McLean CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND SECRETARY Stephen Skinner CLUB CHAPLAIN The Reverend Dr Sam Wells COMMITTEE Elected 2013: Lindsay Hargreaves, Tim Harvey, Nick Helme, Peter Jinman OBE (Chairman – House Sub-Committee), Mrs Jo Turnbull Elected 2014: Allan Stevenson (Chairman – Communications Sub-Committee), Alison Ritchie (Chairman – Membership Sub-Committee), Robert Lasseter, Martin Taylor, Campbell Tweed OBE

Christmas Gifts As members consider how many Club Christmas cards they may require for family and friends (see p19), it is also worth noting that the Club offers a range of branded leather merchandise, all of which make ideal gifts for friends and family members alike. Made from wonderfully supple calf skin leather known as Cow Softie the range includes a men’s wallet, passport/notebook holder, luggage tags and a credit card/

oyster card holder. Each item bears the updated Club logo and comes in a gift box. Newly designed Cuff Links and the updated Club Silk Tie are also available. All items are displayed in the Club Reception and on the Club website ( where a merchandise order form can be downloaded. Members are encouraged to order now to ensure gifts are delivered in good time for Christmas.

Club Closures From 12 noon on Wednesday 23 December 2015 to 3.00pm on Monday 4 January 2016. Members may book a bedroom to stay when the Club is closed on the understanding that it is on a room only basis as no other facilities are available.

Elected 2015: Tim Bennett, Matt Dempsey, Richard Maunder, Gerald Osborne Co-opted: John Jaques (Chairman Under 30s), Mary Bell (Vice Chairman Under 30s) THE FARMERS CLUB CHARITABLE TRUST TRUSTEES Stephen Fletcher (Chairman), John Kerr MBE DL, James Cross, Vic Croxson DL, Mrs Stella Muddiman JP, The Chairman and Immediate Past Chairman of the Club (ex officio)

NEXT ISSUE Watch out for your Winter issue of the Farmers Club Journal, due out in mid-November, with all the latest Club news, including Farmers Club Charitable Trustfunded research into cow technology in Kentucky, USA, a visit to the National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre at Stoneleigh and the Club’s own Farmland Ownership seminar in central London. 22 • The Farmers Club Autumn Journal 2015

Reciprocal Clubs UK City Livery Club, London (No bedrooms) Royal Overseas League, Edinburgh Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh The New Club, Edinburgh Northern Counties Club, Newcastle Note: We have informal agreements with the East India and Caledonian Club for bedroom bookings if we are full. Reception also holds a list of hotels within a 15 minute walk that might be considered ‘good value for money’.

OVERSEAS The Western Australian Club, Perth, Australia (Bedrooms not reciprocated) Queensland Club, Brisbane, Australia The Australian Club, Melbourne, Australia

Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, Ireland (Bedrooms not reciprocated) Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, Dublin, Ireland The Muthaiga Country Club, Nairobi, Kenya The Harare Club, Harare, Zimbabwe The Christchurch Club, Christchurch, New Zealand (operating from The George Hotel www. and able to offer reciprocal visitors preferred accommodation rates) The Canterbury Club, Christchurch, New Zealand Members wishing to use any of the above Clubs should obtain an introductory card from the Secretariat.

Club Information • The Farmers Club Deaths It is with regret that we announce the death of the following members: Sir Richard Gaskell Wiltshire Channel Islands Mr M Burrill Mr W Tilley Denbighshire New Members The following were elected: UK Members Mr E Coulman Mr T Dobell Mr K Nottage Mr I Rylatt Dr M Stobbart Mr G Sylvestor Mr R Wright Under 30s Mr N Altham Miss E De Pass Miss P Girdham Miss R Wells

Lincolnshire Essex Gloucestershire London Gloucestershire Somerset Hertfordshire Cumberland Wiltshire Nottinghamshire Kent

Special Associate Baroness G Shephard MA DL


Envelope Sponsorship The Farmers Club acknowledges the support of Agrovista, sponsor of the Journal envelope. Agrovista is the leading authority on all aspects of crop management advice, with many years of experience backed up with the most advanced and comprehensive range of agronomy trials in Great Britain. For more information visit Mobile Phones, Briefcases and Business Meetings Mobile phones must not be used in the Public Rooms (except the Shaw Room). Briefcases should be left in the Cloakrooms and Business meetings must be conducted in the Shaw Room or designated and pre-booked meeting rooms. Members should speak with the Meetings Manager, Mrs Lynne Wilson for details on 020 7925 7100 or Club Closures Members may book a bedroom to stay when the Club is closed on the understanding that it is on a room only basis as no other facilities are available.

Parking The Club has no private parking at Whitehall Court. However, the Club is pleased to be able to offer all its members discounted parking with Q-Park, our preferred parking partner. Discounts of 20% are available on the day and on prebookings. The nearest Q-Park is situated in Spring Gardens off Cockspur Street, approximately 5 minutes walk from the Club. Details of this can be obtained by phoning the Club Reception on 020 7930 3557 or by visiting the website at: http://www.thefarmers -5-mins-from-club Business Suite The Business Suite provides PCs, printing and WiFi for members. WiFi WiFi is available throughout the Club at no charge. Shaw Room The Shaw Room may be used for meetings of two or three people for up to an hour without booking. iPads, laptops and mobile phones may be used but phones should be set to silent ring. Storage of Shotguns Members are reminded that the Club does not hold a licence for the secure storage of shotguns. There are however a number of “Registered Firearm Dealers” in London who offer this service. Details are available from Reception. Dress Code Members are requested to advise their guests of the following: • Gentlemen must wear formal jackets and ties on weekdays. Polo-neck jerseys, jeans and trainers are not acceptable. • There are Club jackets and a selection of ties at Reception which may be borrowed in an emergency. • Ladies should be dressed conventionally. Trousers are permitted but not jeans or trainers during the week. • Smart casual dress may be worn by all from 6pm Friday to midnight Sunday; smart clean jeans and trainers are permitted. • Children should conform, as best they can, with the above guidelines. • Members must advise their guests of the dress regulations.


Over 170 years of service to farming 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL

Chairman 2015: Anne Chamberlain

Chief Executive and Secretary: Stephen Skinner

Club Number 020 7930 3557 Reception ext: 200/201 Bedroom Reservations ext: 204 Restaurant Reservations Option 3 or Conference & Banqueting Vendula Papackova ext: 109 or direct line: 020 7925 7100 Events & U30s Lisbeth Rune ext: 103 Club Manager Virginia Masser ext: 102 Head Chef Paul Hogben ext: 111 or direct line: 020 7925 7103 Financial Controller Zarreena Neeson ext: 106 or direct line: 020 7925 7101 Membership Mark Fairbairn ext: 107 or direct line: 020 7925 7102 PA to Secretary Claire White ext: 104 or direct line: 020 7930 3751 Bedrooms ext: 3+ [two digit room number] eg. ext 301 for Room1 Whitehall Court Porters 020 7930 3160 Fax 020 7839 7864 Website: THE FARMERS CLUB JOURNAL Editor and Advertisement Manager: Charles Abel 07795 420692 E-mail: Designed and produced by: Ingenious, The printing inks are made using vegetable based oils. No film or film processing chemicals were used. Printed on Lumi Silk which is ISO 14001 certified manufacturer. FSC® Mix Credit. Elemental chlorine free (ECF) fibre sourced from well managed forests

Nairobi’s Muthaiga Club • 23

Farmers Club

Christmas Card 2015

Members are invited to order this year’s Farmers Club Christmas Card, featuring this original painting of the entrance to 3 Whitehall Court, which has been commissioned by the Club. The card is printed with the Club logo and the greeting “With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year”. Available in packs of 10 the cards may be bought at Reception or ordered from the General Office using the order form on page 19. The price per

pack is £8.00 including VAT and second class postage (UK only). Surplus on the sale of the cards will be donated to RABI of England, Wales and N. Ireland and RSABI of Scotland, both of which are dedicated to helping members of the farming community facing hardship. Please place your order promptly to avoid any disappointment.

14343 fcj 258 autumn 2015 web 2