Farmers Club HARVEST 2016 • ISSUE 263
INSIDE Brexit – next steps p6 Club Secretary p10 NFU President p11 Club refurbishment p12 On-line trading p14 Club AGM p16 Highland Show p18 NI Food and Drink p19 U30s Farm Walk p20 Land management app p21 INSERTS Harvest Festival New Year’s Eve Queen’s Gallery visit
Farm excellence A tale of two magnificent estates on Club Tour (p8)
Brexit – what now? See p6, 7 & 11 and online at www.thefarmersclub.com
Farmers Club Over 170 years of service to farming
3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL Patron – Her Majesty The Queen
FRONT COVER Southern England was the destination for a fabulous summer farm tour, taking in two diversified estates and horse racing at Newbury. Photography: Tim Scrivener www.agriphoto.com 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
Summer shows and EU referendum reflections
6 Brexit reaction
Unions face up to the challenge of re-negotiating farm support
8 Wonderful Wiltshire
The Club’s summer visit took in farming operations on two stunning estates, plus a fine evening at the races in Newbury
10 Chief Executive appreciation
After eight years Chief Executive and Club Secretary Stephen Skinner retired at the end of June
11 NFU President’s views
What is the future for farming? NFU President Meurig Raymond briefed members at an exclusive London luncheon
12 Club refurbishment complete
On-time, on-budget, and spot-on for a 21st century feel – CREST project completes updating your wonderful London premises
14 On-line trading
How one member’s business is grasping on-line opportunities
16 AGM report
2017 Chairman and Vice-Chairman elected at July AGM
18 Farming figures
How one farming county is vigorously promoting itself
19 Food Northern Ireland 2016
Royal Balmoral Show celebrates best of NI food and drink
20 Under 30s
Under 30s chairman looks forward, plus report on North of England Farm Walk and an Under 30 member’s initiative
22 Club Information and Contacts 24 Club opens all summer
Summer is a super season to visit The Farmers Club. Here is a guide to what’s on offer this summer and later in 2016
02 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Chairman’s Comments • Richard Butler continues to generate a substantial surplus not only to finance investment in the Club but also to put money aside for the Trustees to invest in the lease renewal funds for the benefits of future generations of members.
Chairman’s Comments “The Club’s financial success and the current building work improvements, which are on time and on budget, owe a great deal to the work of our Chief Executive and Club Secretary Stephen Skinner who retired at the end of June.”
EU Referendum THE Club’s debate on ‘Brexit’ back in April showed our members fairly evenly divided when a show of hands was given at the end of the evening. This was also reflected by the wider electorate in the historic vote on 23rd June. The decision to leave the EU has delivered a seismic shock to UK politics and has brought a new Prime Minister, Theresa May. Agriculture policy governed for the past 40 years from Brussels will now need to be redefined, both on future farm support and our trade agreements with our EU neighbours and the rest of the World. The summer show season has seen the Club once again hosting receptions for our members, with the first of the season at the Balmoral Show held outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. The Club hosted a successful dinner and the next day I enjoyed some wonderful hospitality from our Irish members. The weather was also warm and sunny and the show highlighted some excellent local farm foods. It was impressive to see how many businesses in Ulster have successfully diversified their farm income to cope with falling commodity prices. This year also saw the Club return to the Bath & West Show for the first time in many years. The highlight for our members was a discussion on UK dairying. This was led by Michael Oakes a Worcestershire farmer and NFU National Dairy Board Chairman who was followed by NFU President Meurig Raymond, who addressed our members on the EU situation for dairying. Further Club receptions were also held at the Royal Cornwall, Royal Welsh and Royal Highland shows, opening the opportunity for Club office holders to meet members in their own regions. This is important, I believe, as it raises the profile of the Club throughout the United Kingdom. My wife and I welcomed the opportunity to meet so many members and we must thank all concerned for the warm welcome we received everywhere. Club AGM Our AGM on 5th July was well attended and once again the Treasurer could report some impressive financial results. It is essential the Club
The Club’s financial success and the current building work improvements, which are on time and on budget, owe a great deal to the work of our Chief Executive and Club Secretary Stephen Skinner who retired at the end of June. Stephen has been immensely supportive to me as Chairman and his contribution to the Club is covered later in this Journal. After the AGM we were very pleased to have NFU President Meurig Raymond address our members. He focussed on the EU challenge following the Brexit vote and the need to set out a clear policy for British farming after leaving the EU. He then answered members questions. The AGM was held at the National Liberal Club and the lunch following at the Royal Society of Arts, this possibly the first time these events had been held away from our home, whilst building works continued to the Upper Ground Floor at the Club. This work was almost complete at the time of writing and the reaction from members has been very positive to date. Farm tour July has been an action packed month for Club Events with the Wiltshire/Berkshire Estate tour proving very popular. Visits to Lockinge Estate and the next day Ramsbury Estate featured some fascinating diversification enterprises and beautiful landscapes to enjoy (see article in this Journal). We also found time to visit Newbury Racecourse for an evening meeting and to listen to Richard Hannon (senior), the flat racing trainer who enjoyed outstanding success in his career. A Hannon trained horse duly won one race and some members managed to pick several winners on a lovely summer’s evening. As I write I look forward to a new feature in our program where members, with help from a guide, will explore our capital on foot. We will have support from a Thames Clipper boat and a coach when legs become tired. Highlights will include visits to Greenwich, the Square Mile and St Pauls as well as the magnificent Chelsea Physic Garden. Evenings at the Club restaurant should ensure the walkers are well rewarded for their exertions in the day. A trip to the Royal Opera House should be very special on the second night. Back home on the farm my son has been preparing for our harvest, which should be started by the time you read this! May I wish all our members with crops to harvest a dry August, with low drying costs, and good yields and quality too. Finally, don’t miss out on our September trip to Holland if you need a holiday after Harvest. Just a few places left now. Contact Events Manager Lisbeth Rune on 020 7930 3557 (ext 103). www.thefarmersclub.com • 03
Andrei Spence • Club News
Club News Club refurbishment update Great news! Phase 2 of the Project CREST Refurbishment of the Club premises in Whitehall Court completed on time and on budget in June, and as this issue of the Journal goes to press Phase 3 (the final phase) is well and truly underway, on-schedule, and will be handed back to us by the end of July, just as we planned.
(until the beginning of August), while the original Bar and Lounge was refurbished.
Reception is already back where it always used to be, so checking-in and checking-out is no longer on the Ground Floor – it is on the Upper Ground Floor.
The new Business Suite is now open, on the Ground Floor, opposite the General Office and adjacent to the new Committee Room. This is the place to use laptops and other electronic devices please.
The Luggage Room is back where it used to be – and the key will be held at Reception, or with the Porters downstairs after hours, as before. The Lounge and Bar have spent a period next to Reception, in what was the Cumber Room and the offices. This was a temporary arrangement
Laptops should no longer be used in the Lounge or Bar, and Business meetings should not be held here either. The Shaw Room is available for both of these.
Further details of the tremendous enhancements made to the Club during Project CREST are detailed on pages 12+13 of this Journal. We expect all rooms to be fully available from the end of July. An official opening is planned for November.
Newbury races Members enjoyed a fine evening of racing at Newbury as part of the Club’s Summer Tour (see pages 8+9), including a talk from world-famous trainer Richard Hannon of Herridge Racing Stables, Marlborough – four
04 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
times British flat racing Champion Trainer, with over 100 wins/season 20 times, over 200 wins twice, and 32 Royal Ascot winners. A wonderful experience – with some Club members even succeeding with the betting!
Andrei Spence After a whirlwind two weeks which encompassed my handover, the General and House Committees, the Annual General Meeting, the Club Summer Tour around two estates and Newbury races, I can honestly say I am delighted to be joining the Club, writes Andrei Spence, who officially took over as the Club’s Secretary and Chief Executive on July 1st. These are momentous times at the Club, with the completion of Project CREST at the end of July, creating a truly fabulous Club environment, increasing the flexibility of available space, but without compromising on the very self-evident ambience and homely environment that makes this such a stand out and special place. Running parallel with our own developments, the farming industry is facing significant challenges, in an environment which is currently shrouded in uncertainty following the Brexit decision. At such pivotal times, the Club’s founding aim of being a forum for debate and discussion is unlikely to be diminished, and we are increasingly equipped to facilitate such activities. May I thank all those members who I have already met for your generosity of spirit and unreserved welcome, and I look forward greatly, to meeting as many as possible over the coming months, as we as a Club move forward, and as part of the broader UK community, navigate a safe route through some turbulent waters.
Club News • Andrei Spence
National Dairy Event 2017
The Livestock Event is reverting to its roots in 2017, returning to its traditional time slot of 6 September, at The NEC, and renamed as the National Dairy Event.
Annual tracking of producers, visitors and exhibitors clearly indicates a specialist event in September is preferred to an event geared to all livestock producers in July, says organiser the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers. “The move to hold the event over one day rather than the usual two is simply down to cost; the single-day format will allow exhibitors who are reducing marketing costs in line with the fall in demand for farm inputs, to save on hotel, stand, catering and personnel expenses,” says RABDF chairman, Mike King. The changes position the event in the calendar close to Holstein UK’s UK Dairy Day. RABDF says it hopes to reach agreement with Holstein UK over a possible joint event in the future, since both organizers acknowledge industry consolidation is impacting both their events. In the meantime, to avoid conflict with UK Dairy Day, the National Dairy Event 2017 will not include cattle showing.
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 www.thefarmersclub.com
SEPTEMBER Visit to Holland Tuesday 20th – Thursday 22nd September Farming and cultural visits around Amsterdam. Visit to Holland
OCTOBER Har vest Festival Ser vice Tuesday 11th October Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields and supper at Club after. Booking form enclosed.
Harvest Festival Service
DECEMBER Statoil Masters Tennis – FULL Friday 2nd December Masters tennis at the Royal Albert Hall with supper in the Club beforehand.
New Year’s Eve Black Tie Dinner Saturday 31st December Statoil Masters Tennis
Black tie dinner in the Club with great view of fireworks. Booking form enclosed.
JANUARY 2017 Giselle – FULL Friday 20th January New Year’s Eve Supper
Supper at the Club followed by Giselle ballet at ENO London Coliseum.
Portrait of the Artist Friday 27th January
New toiletries A new range of fragranced toiletries is arriving in Club bedrooms. The After the Rain range is produced by Arran Aromatics, founded in 1989 by Janet Russell and her husband Iain in the kitchen of their cottage on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.
Private lecture by Anne Haworth and lunch at the Club, followed by exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery. Booking form enclosed.
AUGUST OPENING This year the Club is again fully open throughout August – with the Restaurant, Bar and Terrace all fully available to members and guests and the dress code relaxed to weekend attire throughout the month. Book your room now on-line at www.thefarmersclub.com or call Reservations (020 7930 3557 ext 204).
www.thefarmersclub.com • 05
Charles Abel • Farm Policy
Brexit: farming fights its corner The June 23rd referendum vote shocked Britain, Europe and the rest of the world. Now farming must fight for its fair share of a transformed future. Charles Abel reports
“Trade agreements, labour, financial support, legislation – are all up in the air.”
IN the wake of the momentous vote to leave the European Union, the UK’s four farming unions are gearing up for the fight of their lives – to secure an acceptable deal for agriculture. Hot out of the blocks the NFU launched farming’s most significant consultation in a generation, to assess Brexit’s likely impact and how domestic farming policy should respond. At an extraordinary Council meeting NFU President Meurig Raymond insisted Government must not ignore farming’s economic importance as the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry – food and drink – worth £108 billion and employing 3.9 million people.
06 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Brexit puts farm support, red tape, product approvals, environmental legislation, food assurance and much more into one monumental melting pot.
“NFU Council has agreed the principles of a domestic farming policy which will now form the basis of the biggest farming consultation in England and Wales for a generation. Currently there are lots of uncertainties for farming – trade agreements, labour, financial support, legislation are all up in the air – but the NFU is committed to providing this industry with leadership.“ “The Referendum campaign proved to be very divisive in the country as a whole, and farming was no different. Now that voters have decided the issue, it is vital that we all come together to work to this common goal. The vote inevitably opens a period of uncertainty on a number of fronts. We need early answers, but we must ensure we get the right results – and that is bound to take some time.”
Farm Policy • Charles Abel
NFU Council goals: • Best possible access to European markets, which will remain the UK’s major trading partner for the foreseeable future.
“The political landscape across the UK was now in a period of flux and speculation was likely to be unhelpful, he added. “What is clear is that there was strong support to remain in the EU across every part of Scotland, and that was in stark contrast to the majority of the UK.”
• Assurance that the UK is not open to imports produced to lower standards.
• A new domestic agricultural policy adapted to UK needs, easy to understand and simple to administer, including guarantees that support for farmers is on a par with that given to farmers in the EU, who will remain key competitors.
Farmers’ Union of Wales President Glyn Roberts has written to all political party leaders outlining key priorities for Welsh agriculture and family farms, and seeking assurances these will be taken into account in drafting policies and negotiating positions over the coming weeks, months and years.
• Benefit from more than 50 trade agreements with countries in the rest of the world, which will be needed in future, whether new deals need negotiating or not. • Access to migrant labour, seasonal and full-time, maybe via a student agricultural workers scheme, open to students from around the world. • Rural development policy focused on enhancing competitiveness. • End to onerous regulations and over-politicised approach to product approvals, including excessive use of the precautionary principle. Brexit provides a golden opportunity to ensure arrangements are proportionate and based on sound science.
NFUS “Farming and crofting are at the core of rural Scotland and the rural economy and our focus will very firmly be on ensuring that the negotiated exit from Europe and the Common Agricultural Policy and the domestic arrangements that are to replace them will see a profitable and competitive industry in Scotland,” NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said at The Highland Show. Intense negotiation of an exit from the EU was expected to take a minimum of two years, he added, and NFUS wanted discussions to commence quickly. The many businesses that benefit from support from the CAP and value the markets established for produce in Europe and further afield needed to be able to plan for the future. “What will be key for Scottish agriculture will be delivery on the commitments made in the campaign about support levels for agriculture in the event of a Brexit vote and to seek reassurances on terms of trade with the rest of Europe and worldwide in the future.”
Brexit implications for TB eradication, exports, devolution and the Barnett Formula also needed considering. A Brexit timetable aligned with the EU budgetary period, ending in 2020, would make best sense, he suggested. UK political party support for cheap food imports from countries where environmental and animal health standards fall well short of those required in the UK was a key focus of debate in the farming community ahead of the referendum vote, he noted, as was the concern that some parties had advocated reductions in agricultural support without commensurate moves to raise farm incomes. “It is widely acknowledged by rural economists that vast numbers of secondary and tertiary businesses not directly involved in farming are reliant upon the sector, and that falls in farm incomes have significant and sometimes catastrophic consequences for the wider rural economy. Such impacts naturally extend to employees in a wide range of sectors, in addition to the circa 60,000 people employed on farm holdings in Wales.”
UFU Ulster Farmers’ Union president Barclay Bell said farmers and the wider rural community should not panic about an immediate end to CAP support measures or changes in trade arrangements with the EU market, particularly with the Republic of Ireland. “CAP support is guaranteed to 2019. We will immediately enter into discussions on future support arrangements, funded by the UK Treasury, and also on the continuation of trade with Europe.”
Have your say.... Visit www.thefarmersclub.com/debate to have your say on the renegotiation of farming’s future.
“What will be key....will be delivery on the commitments made in the campaign about support levels for agriculture in the event of a Brexit vote.” Historic events
Disentangling 43 years of EU engagement is a monumental project, but business needs to engage, after one of the most historic events for at least a generation, commented Jeremy Moody of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers. The sharp drop in Sterling’s value would help UK exporters and buoy agricultural commodity prices in the shortterm. But farmers were distinctively exporters to the EU and high tariffs were in prospect. Implementing new policies across devolved regions could be tricky, with taxpayer demands for value for money intensifying, he added. “I strongly suspect we’ll simply have an enabling statute that says EU legislation remains in force, purely for continuity – the task is too formidable.”
www.thefarmersclub.com • 07
Charles Abel • Farm Tour
Lockinge exemplifies traditional estate management – owner Thomas Loyd (left) and Julian Sayers of Adkin.
Tale of two estates Members saw two very different estates on the Farmers Club Summer Tour. Charles Abel reports FARMING estates provide fascinating insights into models of land management and the destinations for this year’s Farmers Club Summer Tour were no exception. Lockinge in Oxfordshire demonstrated an ultra-traditional approach to maximising assets, while fast growing Ramsbury in Wiltshire showcased a range of diversifications fully integrated with the core farming RAMSBURY Ramsbury Estate, formed in the 1700s, spanned ‘just’ 3000 acres when it was bought by the Swedish owner of a thriving fashion retailer in 1997. Subsequent acquisitions, including several major estates nearby, and most notably 8,000 acres from the Crown Estate, has taken it to 19,400 acres.
Dairy expansion – David Christensen is helping manager Chris Whitford develop in the sector.
08 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
The 7,000 acre in-hand home estate is predominantly arable: wheat, barley, oats, rape and beans. Moisture retentive clay over chalk produces good yields in dry years, with Vaderstad reduced-pass cultivations helping contain production costs. But weak commodity prices and rising blackgrass are a worry. “In 2004 we started looking at things other than producing primary crops for the global market,” explained estate manager Alastair Ewing. The owner takes a keen interest, bringing commercial acumen to operations and investments alike. “My eyes were really opened when we were bought by a businessman,” reflected Mr Ewing. “I think the whole industry is going to need to go through the same. They might think they are at the behest of the global market already, but it’s going to be even more so in the coming years, after the Brexit vote.” Brewing beer from estate barley malted in Warminster was Ramsbury’s first step. Steam for the process comes from a boiler fuelled with estate wood chip, all part of an interconnected web of enterprises geared to maximise estate returns. In 2008 a distillery was added, using home-grown wheat to produce 43% ABV vodka. The gleaming stainless steel, glass and copper plant produces Gold award winning cold filtered spirit. Cold-pressed rape oil and estate-smoked game and fish are also produced.
Farm Tour • Charles Abel Provenance is crucial for sales through retail partners, a farm shop, on-line (www.ramsbury.com) and a rented gastro-pub. The vodka, for example, bears field name, variety, and the date of planting, harvesting and distilling. “Compared with the big players we can only sell our products by doing something different. So we need a story to get the consumer to buy our product not anybody else’s.” Unsurprisingly, with a location near the M4 motorway in classic rolling English countryside, shooting has blossomed. Ramsbury’s 40,000 pheasant and 35,000 partridge support 50 days of shooting, grossing £550,000/year. “Clients come from urban England, New York, Texas, Europe – it’s a great way of re-distributing wealth into the local economy,” Mr Ewing commented. Further major developments are on hold, pending Brexit clarity. “I think the biggest loser will be Brussels,” he noted. “Brexit will mean other member states fight back, stripping away layers of Brussels bureaucracy. It’s a hugely uncertain time.” LOCKINGE Established in the 1850s Lockinge Estate passed from Lord and Lady Wantage to current owner Thomas Loyd’s branch of the family three generations ago. But traditional beneficence towards the local community is very much alive, as evidenced by a thriving network of business tenants and a model of community engagement. Traditionally the 6,500 acres along the Ridgeway supported dairy, pigs and crops. But land started shifting to tenants in the 1980s. “The fun had gone out of it,” reflected Mr Loyd. “We were increasingly using contractors, and it became obvious 15 year FBTs made more sense. We’ve been very fortunate to attract a dream-team of tenants, allowing us to focus on making the most of a wide range of buildings across this traditional Victorian estate.”
Home farm buildings developed to retain their original features, house a diverse range of enterprises – from radar detection, through marketing, to pottery and furniture making – to spread rental risk. Very open consultation has facilitated planning applications, with working groups looking at housing, business and leisure to create a masterplan, which has won considerable favour with local authority planners, who now approve building in open countryside, where it is part of the well-thought-out, well-bought-into plan. Tenant relationships are cherished and nurtured. David Christensen, one of the UK’s premier dairy farmers, recently took a block of land on a 20 year FBT to launch a second grass-based milking herd. “Investing during a downturn is something other industries do, so why not farming?” he explained. The ‘mongrel’ herd of black and white Holstein Friesian, cross Scandinavian Red, cross Brown Swiss drew attention. “I’ve never understood why dairying stays pure, missing out on hybrid vigour, when other sectors benefit from it,” Mr Christensen noted. The estate’s 150 houses are managed to avoid dormitory villages. Currently 56 of the brown and cream liveried houses sit within the Village Charitable Housing Trust, with affordable rents (1/2 to 2/3 of open rent) for “necessitous circumstances” – where there is a need to live locally, such as for employment. The result is a thriving community, with over 250 jobs linked to the estate. That is almost back full circle to the 300 employed by Lord and Lady Wantage. They would be proud indeed.
“We’ve been very fortunate to attract a dream-team of tenants, allowing us to focus on making the most of a wide range of buildings across this traditional Victorian estate.”
Ramsbury’s diversifications, like this vodka distillery, aim to integrate with core farming.
Malting barley management attracts scrutiny.
Keeping wheat blackgrass-free is a big battle.
Provenance is key – Ramsbury’s Alastair Ewing.
www.thefarmersclub.com • 09
Appreciation • Julian Sayers
Club Secretary and Chief Executive Stephen Skinner pictured with 2016 Chairman Richard Butler (left) and Chair of Trustees Julian Sayers.
Farewell to a fine Club Secretary “Stephen’s focus on Project CREST has seen the largest investment ever in the Club’s facilities, around a scheme he masterminded with perfection – all without damaging the Club’s wonderful atmosphere.”
STEPHEN Skinner retired as the Club’s Secretary and Chief Executive at the end of June, after just over eight years of loyal service. A farewell dinner was held in the Club on Monday 4th July, where the chairmen he served, committee members and friends, bade him farewell in the Club’s magnificent new Restaurant – the centerpiece of Project CREST, which he masterminded so superbly, bringing it in on budget, on time and overdelivering on expectations. “Stephen was appointed whilst I was Club Chairman and wasted no time getting to grips with his new job, following a distinguished career in The Royal Air Force,” reflected Julian Sayers, Chair of Trustees at The Farmers Club, and Chairman in the year Stephen joined. “He quickly recognised what makes the Club tick – its members – and set about the process of understanding the agricultural industry with enthusiasm. “I recall an early visit to Northern Ireland for the Balmoral Show, where we were kindly hosted to a farm visit by Norman Shaw, during which Stephen experienced his first visit to a milking parlour. This led to a genuine interest in the industry, and it wasn’t long before he could hold his own in the Club’s many bar-side discussions, often bringing a different perspective to the debate.”
10 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Stephen was presented with an Honorary Lifetime membership of the Club and a cheque reflecting the very high esteem in which he was held by members. Responding, he paid tribute to the friendships forged over the years, thanking the trustees, chairmen and committee members. He applauded the Committee’s ability to make informed decisions quickly and felt the Club would be in very safe hands with his successor, Andrei Spence. “The staff team here at the Club is a stunning group of individuals to help the Club go forward, especially Club Manager Virginia Masser, who has made so much of it happen.” Mr Sayers noted that during Stephen’s tenure the Club’s facilities had been significantly improved, thanks to the great financial success the Club had enjoyed. The quality of the dining had been transformed dramatically. “Stephen leaves the Club in good heart, with a strong membership, and first class facilities, together with a programme of events which is the envy of many other clubs. We wish both him and Carla every success for the future, and a long and happy retirement, when the time comes!”
NFU President • Charles Abel
Fighting for farming’s future Members had a powerful Brexit briefing from NFU President Meurig Raymond after the Club AGM in July. Charles Abel reports GOVERNMENT must recognise farming’s economic importance as the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry – food and drink, NFU President Meurig Raymond told Farmers Club members at their post-AGM luncheon at the Royal Society of Arts in early July. Speaking just after launching the NFU’s national Brexit consultation and on the eve of a Westminster address to MPs and Lords, he admitted the referendum result was a shock. “It was a huge step for the British people and when you just consider what is happening at the moment it is uncharted waters, with a huge political vacuum, so who knows what the consequences of this are going to be.” Key to farming’s prospects would be the personnel in Government, he stressed. “It is the understanding of whoever becomes Prime Minister, and whoever is going to be sitting around that Cabinet table, [new Prime Minister Theresa May subsequently announced Andrea Leadsom as DEFRA Secretary – Editor.] that is going to have a huge bearing.” Huge responsibility He urged members to challenge those pursuing leadership roles in Government, to see where food and agriculture sat in their priorities. “We, all of us, in the weeks and months ahead, have a huge responsibility to show the decision makers the huge economic importance of food and farming.”
Nightmare scenario European negotiations would be less about trade, and more about Europe avoiding what EU officials saw as a ‘nightmare scenario’ of the UK leaving and then securing a free pass back into the single market, he argued. “Anybody who believes we have a good hand of cards in these negotiations is absolutely mistaken.” While Sterling’s loss of value could help exports, imports would become more costly. At worst, exports of UK farm produce to Europe could be hit by 8-12% tariffs, whilst Government at the same time opened the doors to food imports to dampen food price inflation. Farm policy for an independent UK needed to be simpler to operate, easier to understand and fair in its level of support payments. “It’s not about the size of the support, but about not being disadvantaged, compared with competitors like Ireland, Holland, Denmark or Spain.” Licensing of active ingredients would need to reflect science not emotion. An end to state aid rules should mean a big opportunity for more public procurement of UK produce, he added. “It’s going to be interesting, it’s going to be exciting, I just hope it is going to be fruitful,” he concluded.
“Anybody who believes the UK has a good hand of cards in these negotiations is absolutely mistaken.”
NFU Council had agreed seven Brexit goals (see p6+7), which were now being consulted on, to ensure a robust policy document could be put to UK government by mid-October. The Brexit vote did not mean farmers could bury their own deadstock, nor that sheep EID could be scrapped, or that any of the other EU regulations could now be ignored, he stressed. Instead, the industry needed to unite to agree the way forward, including access to the single market, a fresh UK farm policy, and reworked regulations, all geared to serve UK farming once the nation had left Europe, which he felt it would now do. “We have to be credible in this – hence the consultation across the country.”
Pushing farming’s profile up the political agenda is the priority – NFU President Meurig Raymond.
www.thefarmersclub.com • 11
Virginia Masser • Club Update
Stunning new Club revealed A magnificent refurbishment of the Club, overseen by past Club Secretary and Chief Executive Stephen Skinner, is being unveiled. Club Manager Virginia Masser details the highlights
The Farmers Suite is our new function space.....a bright, airy room with stunning views of The River Thames.
WELL, we have travelled a considerable journey since the start of Project CREST on 1st February……. the largest refurbishment of the Club’s public areas that has ever been undertaken; a project not only to accommodate the growing popularity and usage of the Club, but to make far better use of the space and to refurbish areas long in need of attention. The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. I am also delighted to say that as this article goes to press in mid-July, we are on time and on budget!!
Distinctive decor of relaxing Shaw Room.
The Business Suite The old ladies toilet on the ground floor has been transformed into a new contemporary working space with Club artwork adorning the walls. Working pods have been created so you can work in private, using your own device or one of the Club PCs. Hamid Khaldi, our IT Manager, is based here, to assist with technical questions during working hours.
The Club Team have been great and adapted to temporary working environments well, so a big thank you to them. They are all delighted with the results thus far and can’t wait to see the Club in all its glory.
The General Office You will now find all of the office team on the ground floor, opposite the new Business Suite, where the original Committee and Hudson Room were. Team communication is key to the running of the Club and the new layout works perfectly. So, whenever you need to catch up with a member of the team, including the Chief Executive & Club Secretary or Club Manager, do come and see us.
Many areas are now complete and in the last Journal you will have read about the completed Restaurant and Kitchen. We are now completing Phase 3, the Final Phase, which includes the Lounge, Bar and Ladies Cloakroom on the upper ground floor, with builders due to finish by late July. So, here is a round-up of the areas completed so far:
The Committee Room On the ground floor, what was the Accounts Office and adjoining corridor, has been turned into a new function room, The Committee Room. It has natural daylight and views of Embankment Gardens. A calming, traditional space with a gentle green colour scheme, it is available to book now for up to 19 people around a boardroom table.
12 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Club Update • Virginia Masser The Farmers Suite You will be delighted to hear that the days of guest speakers talking to a wall, of those attending a function traipsing through The Restaurant, and The Restaurant itself being closed during a Club event………are all long gone.
However, it is now a room that boasts the Club Library and all the weekly agricultural and farming publications too. It’s cosy, it’s snug and I have the strong temptation to curl up on a window seat and read a book, whilst sneaking a sideways glance at The Thames.
The Farmers Suite, our new function space located where the offices and Cumber Room used to be on the upper ground floor, has arrived! A bright, airy room with stunning views of The River Thames, it can be divided into two separate rooms – The Cumber and The Hudson – by a ‘London Wall’ partition, so the rooms can be used by separate groups.
The Restaurant The last Journal featured the new Restaurant. It has opened to much praise and the feedback has been excellent. The new look works well for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with many hovering longer to enjoy the ambience. Needless to say, it is important to make a reservation!
High specification, flexible audio visual capability has been built-in, so you can hold a fantastic family celebration or a successful meeting, conference or debate. We are more than delighted and look forward to hosting wonderful Club events in The Farmers Suite. It is already being booked for functions from August, so don’t delay if you’d like to be one of the first to use it!
“Wow” seems to be the favourite word used by members since Reception re-opened.
As the Final Phase draws to a close we will of course keep you updated with progress of the Lounge, Bar and Ladies Cloakroom (see www. thefarmersclub.com). The Autumn Journal will review the final completion of Project CREST.
Reception “Wow” seems to be the favourite word used by members since Reception re-opened. A bright, airy environment has been created and beautiful craftsmanship is plain to see in the new bow-fronted desk, designed to improve the Club welcome. Either side of the desk are ornate columns saved from the walls of the old offices. The desk also features a Drop Box for your key if you leave before Reception opens. The Shaw Room Still a room where you can read quietly, still a room where you can hold a brief business meeting with your mobile on silent, still a room where you can pen a letter to a friend.
A fresh new look for the Reception area.
Bookings are now being taken Conference & Banqueting: 020 7925 7100 or email Liza Keoshgerian at meetings@ thefarmersclub.com Restaurant: 020 7930 3557 (option 3) or email Jelle or Elvis at restaurantmanager@ thefarmersclub.com or asstrestmanager@ thefarmersclub.com Bedrooms: 020 7930 3557 (extn 204) or email reservations@ thefarmersclub.com The new Committee Room.
www.thefarmersclub.com • 13
Member business Opportunities for farmers to trade online are growing rapidly
farmers catching up fast
Yorkshire farmer and Farmers Club member, Andrew Loftus, detects the start of a quiet revolution in farming circles
“The power of the internet is awesome. It’s great to see that more and more farmers are realising its potential and joining this quiet revolution.”
THE speed with which the internet has crept into every corner of our lives is hard to believe. The world’s first public website launched in 1992. That’s the year Major won the general election, Mansell won the British Grand Prix, the Maastrict Treaty was signed (just) and McSharry tried to sort out the CAP (it’s still a mess!). And it was before the internet really existed…
transparent. If we want to look for a new vehicle our first port of call is the Autotrader app. For a new property it’s Rightmove. For a flight it’s Skyscanner. For somewhere to stay it’s AirBnB. And for just about everything else it’s Amazon or Ebay.
By 2006 more than half of us used the internet every day, but there were still no smartphones. The first (Apple’s iphone) wasn’t launched until 29 June 2007, that’s two days after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister… let me say that again: When Gordon Brown became PM none of us had a smartphone! Today over 82% of Britons have one – more than any other country.
Registered to trade Thankfully, the answer to the first question is a resounding ‘no’. Take for example two internet trading platforms that I am involved with: sellmylivestock.co.uk and graindex.com. Neither site is more than two years old, but already more than 5,000 British farmers and livestock/cereal businesses are registered to trade.
Everywhere we look the internet is transforming the way we do business, and making markets more efficient and
14 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
But is farming being left behind? And how can farmers use the immense reach of the internet to get a better price?
Both sites are run by a team of forward thinking, committed and entrepreneurial farmers and web developers, with technology that is improving all the time. For example, both sites will soon offer
Member business that particular advert. It’s a powerful way of reaching so many potential customers. Graindex works in a similar way, allowing individual cereal growers to reach new customers. Producers enter lots of wheat, barley or rapeseed into one of two daily trading periods. Already some of the UK’s largest merchants are regular buyers, including Openfield, Glencore and Nidera. Two facts are worth noting in particular: the average spread between highest and lowest wheat bids on any given lot is £4.50/t. And the highest bidder is rarely the same, demonstrating the value of an open and transparent market.
“Today over 82% of Britons have a smart phone – more than any other country.”
The power of the internet is awesome. It’s great to see that more and more farmers are realising its potential and joining this quiet revolution.
Andrew Loftus, Yorkshire farmer and online trading entrepreneur. a guaranteed payment system, to take away the credit risk of dealing with unknown third parties. Sellmylivestock works by combining some of the best features of familiar websites like Autotrader, Rightmove and Ebay. On any given day you’ll find around 3,500 head of livestock listed for sale, both by individual farmers and livestock trading businesses, just as you might find cars listed on Autotrader from both dealerships and individuals. The basic service is free to use, though sellers can opt into extra chargeable features. Also, like Ebay, buyers and sellers can build up their online reputation through a star-rating system. Those with 10 stars guard them jealously; they help their stock make a better price. The way farmers market their stock is changing. More store cattle and sheep are moving direct from farm to farm, usually through the efforts of an experienced agent or ‘auctioneer’, but not actually passing through the auction ring.
Farmers Club On-line On-line links to The Farmers Club are a boon, says John Jaques, immediate past-chairman of the Under 30s. “As soon as I joined I registered with the website and have fully reaped the benefits ever since. It is updated nearly daily with reviews of the restaurant, operational updates (appointments and refurbishments) and nearly instant reviews of Club events. It is modern and full of information to explore, from the convenience of wherever you have a few minutes spare. Booking rooms, buying gifts or reading Club news – it’s at your fingertips, with links to our very active Facebook and Twitter sites, key mediums for the future and ideal for promoting the Club’s great work. It’s not all about selfies and the World moving faster – it’s about helping you, as a valued member of the Club, to be informed, included and represented. Enjoy!” Web: www.thefarmersclub.com
50% direct trade Some estimates now put this direct trade at more than 50%. The internet is accelerating this change.
The Farmers Club Page
Let me give you an example, one Friday in March, a well-known agent listed a batch of 20 Limousin steers on Sellmylivestock. By 9am Monday morning over 4,400 potential buyers had clicked through to
www.thefarmersclub.com • 15
Charles Abel • Annual Meeting
Report on the 2016 Annual General Meeting The 174th Annual General Meeting chaired by Richard Butler was held in the River Room of the Horseguards Hotel, next door to The Farmers Club on Tuesday, 5th July 2016 – the Club itself still undergoing the final touches of Project CREST refurbishment. The following is a summary of the Minutes, full copies of which can be obtained by email from the Secretary
2017 Chairman Tim Bennett – former NFU President and South-West Wales dairy farmer and current Chairman of the Food Standards Agency.
Minutes, Club Accounts and Annual Report
Election of the Club Chairman and the Vice-Chairman
THE Minutes of the 173rd Annual General Meeting of the Club were approved and the Report and Audited Accounts of the Club for the year ended 31st December 2015 were adopted unanimously. Mark Hudson proposed the adoption of the accounts, and Campbell Tweed seconded.
Tim Bennett and Peter Jinman were proposed and unanimously agreed upon as Chairman and Vice-Chairman for 2017.
Club Chairman Richard Butler paid a warm tribute to Stephen Skinner, who had retired as Chief Executive and Secretary at the end of June, after almost nine years, and welcomed his successor, Andrei Spence, who joined the Club following a distinguished career in the Royal Navy, most recently as its chief legal officer. Mr Butler explained that once again the Club had generated a considerable surplus in 2015, but that it was a very necessary surplus. “When you consider Project CREST, the largest single investment the Club has made in its history, through which we are currently budgeting to spend a total of £1.14m, this will be covered from revenue and only a small temporary loan. That puts any surplus into perspective, especially as it is not just for Club reinvestment, but to build up the lease renewal fund for future generations too.”
16 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Proposing the election of Tim Bennett as Chairman for 2017 Chair of Trustees Julian Sayers said Tim was first and foremost a farmer from near Carmarthen in south-west Wales, who had run dairy, egg and pedigree beef enterprises. But he had also done a lot for farming beyond the farm gate. As NFU Deputy President and President from 1998-2006, a period when he masterminded the NFU’s move into state-of-theart headquarters in Stoneleigh, whilst retaining an investment property in London, which had given the organisation a very sound financial base for the future. From 2007-2014 he was chair of AHDB’s dairy sector levy body, Dairy Co, where he received the prestigious UK Industry Award. Since 2007 he has served on the Food Standards Agency board, currently as its Chairman. Trustee Nicki Quayle seconded the proposal which was approved unanimously. Replying, Tim said that when he joined the Club he considered it a privilege, so to become
Annual Meeting • Charles Abel its chairman was a very great honour indeed, especially in its 175th Anniversary year. The Club was originally formed to debate the farming issues of the day, and after the momentous referendum decision to leave the EU, and the implications that would have for farming and the food supply chain, he was hastily rearranging his programme for the year ahead. But it was also important to communicate to members the massive investment that had been made in the refurbishment of the Club through project CREST, and to encourage members to make full use of its enhanced facilities. The Club was a members club, that put members first, and evolved for the benefit of its members, with no revolutions. Its almost unique selling point was that it was a friendly, family Club. He intended to do his best to maintain that in 2017. Proposing the election of Peter Jinman as Vice-Chairman for 2017 past Chairman Anne Chamberlain said Peter was primarily a veterinary surgeon who graduated from London’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and practised in Worcestershire and Herefordshire, before becoming a consultant with a wide range of committee roles. He had been President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association, chairman of Defra’s Farm Animal Welfare Committee, non-executive director of Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor), trustee of the Addington Fund and a lay member of the House of Commons Standards Committee. He is a pub and restaurant owner, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration. He was made an OBE in 2004. His enthusiasm and contribution to the Club epitomized the fellowship which the Club was all about.
2016 Chairman Richard Butler – welcomed new chief executive and secretary Andrei Spence and paid warm tribute to his predecessor Stephen Skinner.
Jimmy McLean seconded the proposal, which was approved unanimously.
Honorary Treasurer Richard Maunder was elected Honorary Treasurer for 2017. Mr Butler thanked George Jessel for his work as Honorary Treasurer for the past two years and explained that he was now moving on to other duties within his home county of Kent. Proposing the election of Richard Maunder as Honorary Treasurer for 2017, Trustee Paul Heygate said Richard grew up in Cullompton, Devon, attended Cardiff University and had been a member of the Club since 1998. After three years in accountancy in London he returned to the family’s animal feed business, Lloyd Maunder, for 25 years, becoming joint managing director, until the business was sold to Two Sisters Group, where he became Operations Director. For the past four years he has been Chief Executive/ Association Secretary of Devon County Agricultural Association. George Jessel seconded the proposal, which was approved unanimously.
“The Club was formed to debate the issues of the day, and is now perfectly placed to address the impact of the Brexit vote on farming and the food supply chain, in what will be its 175th year.”
Auditors The Chairman and Committee recommended that haysmacintyre continue in office, which was agreed unanimously. There being no further business the Chairman concluded the Annual General Meeting.
2017 Honorary Treasurer Richard Maunder – former joint managing director of Lloyd Maunder animal feed business and operations director of Two Sisters Group.
2017 Vice Chairman Peter Jinman – past president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and British Veterinary Association.
www.thefarmersclub.com • 17
Superb Highland Show dinner
A look at... the food and farming sector in Kent, one of the UK’s top agricultural counties, told through a few key statistics
Total assets of Kent’s agricultural and horticultural sector
Loretto School Pipes and Drums provided a rousing accompaniment.
Guest speaker at the Highland Show dinner was Allan Bowie, President of NFU Scotland.
Jobs in food-related businesses, making Kent one of the UK’s three leading food clusters
2767 Farmers in Kent, farming 553,000 acres, of which 66% farm less than 120 acres
Almost 500 Food related companies based in Kent
Scottish dancing added to the atmosphere tremendously.
Year Rural PLC (Kent) started to raise awareness, champion the true value, and drive investment into Kent’s rural sector
Surface area of Kent, of which roughly 1/3 is Grade 1 or Grade 2 land
Total value of Kent food chain per year
Typical retailer return on capital invested, compared with just 2% for Kent farming
640 Farmers market stalls at 53 farmers markets in the county. Produced in Kent has over 300 members, with gross sales of £400m/year
79p per 1€
Trend towards strong Sterling and weak Euro pre-referendum had hit exports and support payments hard Source: Rural PLC (Kent) www.ruralplc.com
18 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
CLUB Chairman Richard Butler hosted a splendid dinner reception at The Royal Highland Show on Wednesday 22nd June 2016, where members and their guests enjoyed, not only one of the best dinners we have had at the Show in the splendour of the marquee by Ingliston House, but also, were treated to an excellent, wideranging and insightful speech by Allan Bowie, President of NFU Scotland. Before dining, the Loretto School Pipes and Drums, with a lone dancer, and all led by Pipe Major Colin Pryde, entertained us royally and set the scene. The evening
was rounded off with a hugely humorous after-dinner talk by Professor David Purdie. The feedback seems to suggest this was a most successful evening, and a very fitting conclusion to the time in office of our Secretary (a son of Edinburgh). See the Events section of the website (www. thefarmersclub.com) for details of upcoming Farmers Club activities, including a visit to Holland, the Harvest Festival and New Year’s Eve Supper Party.
Royal Balmoral Show dinner celebrates NI food and drink Members and guests of The Farmers Club celebrated Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 at a fine Royal Balmoral Show dinner ON the eve of the Royal Balmoral Show an enthusiastic audience of over 80 members and their guests, plus a host of celebrity food writers, enjoyed a magnificent evening dedicated to the best of food from Northern Ireland. Hosted by Club Chairman Richard Butler, with drinks sponsored by McDonald’s, the event captured the true spirit of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink 2016, with a hugely well informed and enthusiastic talk delivered by Dr Howard Hastings, board member of Food Northern Ireland and managing director of Hastings Hotels, which has six hotels in Northern Ireland, and a half share of the Merrion Hotel in Dublin. Born and raised in Belfast Mr Hastings admitted to a lack of farming heritage. “The closest I got to farming was that at school I sat next to John Bamber, who went on to become president of the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.” But NI food was close to his heart. “Our hotels have for many years celebrated our ability to showcase local produce to our guests and I very much championed the cause of celebrating a themed year of Food & Drink in Northern Ireland, which the Food NI executive signed up to for 2016,” he said. As the project’s website explains: “Something about Northern Ireland inspires ambition and spirit and the proof is on your plate and in your glass. From harvesting Comber earlies to catching Lough Neagh eels, distilling Bushmills whiskey to rearing Glenarm shorthorn, we go that little bit further for every single mouthful. We craft, grow, breed, catch, cook and enjoy it all with passion – to prove that the finest landscapes, in the hands of the most dedicated people, make for truly phenomenal experiences…”
Dr Howard Hastings, board member of Food Northern Ireland and managing director of Hastings Hotels.
Indeed, food and drink is Northern Ireland’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing almost £5 billion to the economy in 2014, with exports worth over £4 billion and employment for around 100,000. Food and drink experiences are seen as increasingly important to tourism, offering destinations an opportunity to differentiate and celebrate indigenous foods. In 2014 visitors to Northern Ireland spent an estimated £751 million, a third of which was on food and drink. In addition, £282 million was spent by NI residents on tourism day trips of which approximately 40% was on eating out. NI’s Year of Food & Drink is aiming for a 5% increase in food related visitor satisfaction ratings, a boost to export sales and £10m-worth of positive PR in the consumer media. Food writers who attended the dinner included: • Charles Campion, Bill Knott, Xanthe Clay, Joe Warwick, Andy Lynes, Trish Deseine, Sharon Machala. See Balmoral Show dinner photos and download copies at www.thefarmersclub.com//news/Royal-Balmoral-Show-dinner-celebratesNI-food-and-drink More about Food & Drink Northern Ireland 2016 at: http://www.tourismni.com/BusinessSupport/MajorEvents/ NIYearofFoodandDrink2016.aspx
www.thefarmersclub.com • 19
Mary Bell, Chairman; Charlotte Harris, Vice Chairman; Lisbeth Rune, Secretary • U30s
Chairman’s Jottings Twenty members of the U30s Farmers Club made it to Northumberland for the 2016 Spring Farm Walk (see story p21), where we were very honoured to have a private tour of the Alnwick Estate, thanks to the huge generosity of Steve Stubbings and of course the Duke of Northumberland. We were also very lucky, thanks to Lucy and Emily McVeigh, to receive a tour and insight into NU Food at Newcastle University from Dr Karl Christensen. It was fascinating to see their facilities and learn more about their food research, with a near majority of our group selecting 28-day aged beef as the ‘tastier’ option over lesser alternatives. I was delighted that a couple of new members joined us for the weekend – they were brilliant company. Regrettably, our U30s Pimm’s Dinner Evening has had to be cancelled, due to the ongoing works of the Club’s Project CREST refurbishment. Instead, we will have the U30s Grand Opening September Dining on Friday 16th September. Members will have the opportunity to receive a private tour of the Club, to see the fantastic developments that have taken place, and a Saturday activity will also be arranged. I would encourage all U30s members to join our U30s Facebook Group, and follow the Farmers Club on Facebook and Twitter @TheFarmersClub to ensure you receive up to date information. I look forward to seeing many of you on 16th September. Bookings will open in due course.
Contact Mary for more information Mary Bell U30 Chairman Job Title: PA to Lord Malloch-Brown Where: Piccadilly, London www.thefarmersclub.com /under-30s firstname.lastname@example.org
20 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Bringing all the information together in one place on-line to aid farm project management is the goal of Land App.
Help at hand I was brought up on a small farm in Surrey, where we have just under 100 acres. Although blissful to grow up on, this wasn’t going to sustain an income for my future, at least not in its current state. I’ve never being completely happy with the way things are, always wanting to know what is around the corner, knowing that in searching for a better way of doing things there are likely to be some interesting discoveries on the journey. Like many farms we need to diversify, to plan out the land better, and to do business better. We need to make well thought out decisions based on real evidence. I have travelled the world working on farms and met many farmers in England, and there is a common theme – everyone wants to increase the value of their enterprise, as effectively as possible. But the challenge was, and still is, that there are many stakeholders and a feeling of walking into a huge unknown. Coping with all that adds a huge cost to projects – be it BPS, a diversification plan or an infrastructure investment. The paper, PDFs, email threads, plans
and drawings can get out of hand, with some person madly trying to coordinate everything, to keep everyone clued up as the project advances. Knowing this was ahead of us, to diversify the farm, I couldn’t face the old way of doing things. I wanted a better way, where we could digitally plan, share and collaborate on projects, together in one platform, that can be accessed anywhere in the world – so you can open up your iPad to access all your information. A year ago I set off on a journey to set up a company to help farming and land management in England. I have been so gratefully astounded by the support I have had from people such as the Royal Agricultural University, Savills, Ordnance Survey, Land Registry, RPA and the CLA. There is still a lot of work to get this start-up off the ground. We know we can see a more connected land management sector. If anyone would like to learn more, or get involved, do email or call me. Tim Hopkin E: email@example.com M: 07864 285573
U30s • Mary Bell, Chairman; Charlotte Harris, Vice Chairman; Lisbeth Rune, Secretary
Northern Farm Walk Under 30s member Georgina Knock, chief operating officer at RecommedMe Ltd, and Mary Bell, U30 Chairman, report on the Under 30s North of England spring farm walk Our spring farm walk started in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a Friday evening with a three-course dinner in the center of the city. On Saturday morning we had an early start by U30s standards to reach Alnwick Gardens for 9.30am where Steve Stubbings of Northumberland Estates had arranged a fascinating tour, accompanied by the Castle’s head tour guide. Percy Farms is the in-hand farming business of the 12th Duke of Northumberland in partnership with Percy Farming Company. This is managed by Andercourt Farming and consists of 15 arable farms, mostly within a six-miles radius, on soils ranging from lighter sandy loams to heavier clay loams.
Percy Farming Company oversees 15 arable farms in Northumberland.
Rotations differ for the partridge and non-partridge specific areas, with no one field next to another containing the same crop. Looking out from the base at Ratcheugh Farm we heard that grey partridge is the number one priority, accounting for 1000ha of the total land area, due to the current Duke’s passion for wild birds. Our second stop was Hulne Park where we were given a guided tour around Hulne Priory, which was built in 1138 and featured as Maid Marion’s house in the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Park Farm is the livestock unit for Percy Farms, which has Romney ewes and suckler cows, and is cutting labour costs, such that this is effectively a one-man system.
Brizlee Tower swathed in low cloud.
The third stop was Brizlee Tower, overlooking the entire estate. Sadly we were unable to see through the low cloud, but were assured the views were spectacular, across Capability Brown’s landscaped creation. The beacon at the top was lit by Steve Stubbings during the 2012 Olympic Torch relay. Our final stop was the Percy Hunt Kennels. The spectacular Old English Fox Hounds owned by his Grace are a good old-fashioned pack, hunting three days a week.
Old English hounds from Percy Hunt Kennels hunt three days a week.
The delights of Alnwick Castle completed our visit, with an ‘on location tour’ revealing the filming secrets for films such as Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. On Saturday evening we were privileged to have the private dining room at the Northern Counties Club. It felt like home from home, and almost everyone was welcomed as a cardinal. The whole experience was wonderful and I would recommend any Farmers Club members to visit when they are next in Newcastle. The weekend ended with an insightful visit to Newcastle University’s NUFood Research unit. Karl Christensen, the industry development manager at the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, showed us the various facilities, including clinical facilities to conduct nutritional testing, and individual booths for taste-testing (equipped with ‘black light’ to remove the effect colour has on our taste!) We ended the tour in the large room for kitchen demonstrations, with wonderful views over the city, reflecting on how technology is set to become more interwoven with our food choices. For example, nutritional contents will be captured with a photograph taken on one’s phone. A fascinating finish to a wonderful weekend in the North of England.
Newcastle University’s NU Food Research unit proved fascinating.
Northern Counties Club – home from home for Farmers Club.
www.thefarmersclub.com • 21
The Farmers Club • Club Information
020 7930 3557 • www.thefarmersclub.com 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 2016 VICE PRESIDENTS Barclay Forrest OBE, Mark Hudson, Norman Shaw CBE, Mrs Susan Kilpatrick OBE PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN Richard Butler TRUSTEES Jimmy McLean, Mrs Nicki Quayle, Julian Sayers (Chairman), Paul Heygate VICE-CHAIRMAN Tim Bennett HONORARY TREASURER George Jessel DL IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIRMAN Anne Chamberlain CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND SECRETARY Andrei Spence CLUB CHAPLAIN The Reverend Dr Sam Wells COMMITTEE Elected 2014: Allan Stevenson (Chairman – Communications Sub-Committee), Alison Ritchie, Robert Lasseter, Martin Taylor, Campbell Tweed OBE Elected 2015: Tim Bennett, Matt Dempsey, Richard Maunder, Gerald Osborne Elected 2016: Robert Alston, Andrew Brown, Lindsay Hargreaves (Chairman – Membership Sub-Committee), Nick Helme, Peter Jinman OBE (Chairman – House Sub-Committee) Co-opted: Mary Bell (Chairman Under 30s), Charlotte Harris (Vice Chairman Under 30s) THE FARMERS CLUB CHARITABLE TRUST TRUSTEES Stephen Fletcher (Chairman), John Kerr MBE DL, James Cross, Vic Croxson DL, The Chairman and Immediate Past Chairman of the Club (ex officio)
NEXT ISSUE The AUTUMN issue of the Farmers Club Journal is due out in mid-September, with all the latest news, including reports on the financial scale of farming’s downturn, how charities are helping, novel approaches to soil management, the latest developments in the Brexit negotiations and a novel initiative to promote the rural sector, county by county.
22 • The Farmers Club Harvest Journal 2016
Harvest Festival Service & Buffet Supper Tuesday 11 October 2016 Harvest is a time to gather and reap the crop at the end of the growing season, a time to celebrate! We’d love you to join us for our Annual Harvest Service at St. Martin-in-the-Fields off Trafalgar Square in central London, just a short stroll or taxi ride from the Club. The date is Tuesday 11th October with the service commencing at 5pm. The Club chaplain, Reverend Dr Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, will lead our service of thanks. After the service our Harvest Festival Supper will be held at 6.15pm back in your newly refurbished Club, which has undergone its own growing season over recent months, ripe for the future. The cost for this popular event is £40.00 per person, with guests very welcome. Bookings can be made on-line at www.thefarmersclub.com or complete and return the booking form enclosed with this issue of the Journal. Applications will be accepted on a ‘first come first served’ basis, with equal priority given to on-line and postal applications. 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 Bury St Edmund’s Farmers Club 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
Portrait of the Artist, Queen’s Gallery Friday 27 January 2017 The first exhibition to focus on images of artists from within the Royal Collection, Portrait of the Artist, not only show-cases self-portraits by worldrenowned artists including Rembrandt, Rubens, Freud and Hockney but also features images of artists by their friends, relatives and pupils. Using over 150 objects, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and decorative arts the exhibition will examine a range of themes, from the ‘cult’ of the artist to the symbolism evoked through images of the artist’s studio. Our programme starts at 12.00 noon with a private lecture by Anne Haworth in the Club, followed at 1.00pm by a 2-course lunch with wine. At 2.30pm we depart by coach for the Queen’s Gallery, entering the Exhibition at 3.15pm. Members should make their own way home afterwards. This event is limited to 40 places. Cost per person is £60.00. All applications should be received by 9th September. If oversubscribed places will be decided by a ballot. To register apply online at www. thefarmersclub.com or use the booking form in this Journal.
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. thegeorge.com 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: Mr R Hayward Oxfordshire Mr G Jibson Yorkshire Mr M Manser London Mr W D Peck Gloucestershire Mr J Ross Norfolk New Members The following were elected: UK Members Mr N Bent Mrs M Cambray Mr R Chapman Mr E Clarke Mr N Colston Mr I Dreelan Mr P Ebsworth Mr J Elliott Mr A Ewing Mr J Farren Mrs C Giles Mr A Grizzell Mr R Hambly Mr R Holdsworth Mr M Holland Mr T Holt-Wilson Mr P Ilinicki Mr T Morton Ms L Mumford Mr P Noyce Mr R Parrott Mrs S Peck OBE Mr E Perry Mr R Pickthall Mr R Rimington Wilson Mr T Rogers Miss C Scantlebury Mrs J Stevens Mr I Thorpe Mrs J Tuckwell Mr M Wightman Mr R Willey Mr P Young Overseas Mr J Valkier Under 30s Mr A Atkinson Mr O Blackett Mr R Cockcroft Mr F Corbett Mr S Dukes Mr A Hopkins Mr H King Miss F Parrott Mr R Palmer Mr D Roberts Miss R Swain Mr E Venmore-Rowland Mr C Whitcombe
Gloucestershire Shropshire Cambridgeshire Sussex Oxfordshire Wiltshire Norfolk Tyrone Wiltshire Yorkshire Fife Wiltshire Devon Sussex Leicestershire Monmouthshire Surrey Oxfordshire Lincolnshire Hampshire Staffordshire Cambridgeshire Kent Cumberland Yorkshire Lincolnshire Essex Buckinghamshire Worcestershire Suffolk Gloucestershire Lincolnshire Sussex Netherlands Leicestershire Dumfriesshire Yorkshire London Lincolnshire London Buckinghamshire Staffordshire Yorkshire Staffordshire Essex Suffolk Hampshire
Whitehall Court - Associate Lord Truscott
Queens’s 90th Birthday Honours List Mr J G Skipper MBE
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. 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: Liza Keoshgerian ext: 109 or direct line 020 7925 7100 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 club.com/news/parking -5-mins-from-club Business Suite The Business Suite provides PCs, printing and WiFi for members. 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. Television There are no TVs in the Club bedrooms. Members can of course use iPads, tablets, laptops to view TV programmes utilising the Club WiFi in their bedrooms. 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.
Club Contacts THE FARMERS CLUB
Over 170 years of service to farming 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL
Chairman 2016: Richard Butler
Chief Executive and Secretary: Andrei Spence
Club Number 020 7930 3557 Reception ext: 200/201 email@example.com Bedroom Reservations ext: 204 firstname.lastname@example.org Restaurant Reservations Option 3 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Conference & Banqueting Liza Keoshgerian ext: 109 or direct line: 020 7925 7100 email@example.com Events & U30s Lisbeth Rune ext: 103 firstname.lastname@example.org Club Manager Virginia Masser ext: 102 email@example.com Head Chef Paul Hogben ext: 111 or direct line: 020 7925 7103 firstname.lastname@example.org Financial Controller Zarreena Neeson ext: 106 or direct line: 020 7925 7101 email@example.com Membership Mark Fairbairn ext: 107 or direct line: 020 7925 7102 firstname.lastname@example.org PA to Secretary Claire White ext: 104 or direct line: 020 7930 3751 email@example.com Bedrooms ext: 3+ [two digit room number] eg. ext 301 for Room1 Whitehall Court Porters 020 7930 3160 Fax 020 7839 7864 Website: www.thefarmersclub.com THE FARMERS CLUB JOURNAL Editor and Advertisement Manager: Charles Abel 07795 420692 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Designed and produced by: Ingenious, www.ingeniousdesign.co.uk 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
• Members must advise their guests of the dress regulations.
www.thefarmersclub.com • 23
Diary Dates CLUB CALENDAR
Visit to Holland
Apply for tickets online or use forms included with the relevant Journal
SEPTEMBER Visit to Holland
Tuesday 20th – Thursday 22nd September Harvest Festival Service
Farming and cultural visits around Amsterdam.
OCTOBER Royal Highland Show
Har vest Festival Ser vice Tuesday 11th October
Service at St Martin-in-the-Fields and supper at Club after. Booking form enclosed Statoil Masters Tennis
DECEMBER Statoil Masters Tennis – FULL Friday 2nd December
Masters tennis at the Royal Albert Hall with supper in the Club beforehand.
New Year’s Eve Supper Party
New Year’s Eve Black Tie Dinner Saturday 31st December
Black tie dinner in the Club with great view of fireworks. Booking form enclosed
JANUARY 2017 Giselle – FULL
Friday 20th January Giselle
Supper at the Club followed by Giselle ballet at ENO London Coliseum.
Portrait of the Artist Friday 27th January
Private lecture by Anne Haworth and lunch at the Club, followed by exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery. Booking form enclosed Portrait of the Artist
AUGUST OPENING This year the Club is again fully open throughout August – with the Restaurant, Bar and Terrace all fully available to members and guests and the dress code relaxed to weekend attire throughout the month. Book your room now on-line at www.thefarmersclub.com or call Reservations (020 7930 3557 ext 204).
Events online Details of all Club events are constantly updated in the Events section of the website www.thefarmersclub.com/events where tickets are easy to book. Equal priority is given to traditional booking methods.
Published on Aug 1, 2016