Lead Yorkshire's Rural Hotline to Government

Yorkshire’s rural hotline to Defra is looking for leaders to take it forward and help shape future government policies.

Steve Willis, who has chaired The Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network since its inception in January 2012, has decided to step down to concentrate on his business commitments. In addition to a new chairman, the Network is also looking for a deputy.

The Network brings together key individuals from the food and farming industries, rural communities and rural businesses. Run under the auspices of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, it is a direct link between the region and Defra, feeding back local issues and concerns directly to the heart of government. The roles involve engaging with Defra on important issues for Yorkshire farmers and rural communities, such as flooding and encouraging new entrants into farming.

Mr Willis said: “We’re a Network that has influence and gets things done. As Defra’s ‘eyes and ears’ in the county, we inform the department of our thoughts, concerns and ideas – to make sure government is aware of the Yorkshire perspective. Communication also takes place in reverse, in that Defra consults with us on topical issues, so we are able to tap into the latest policy thinking.” As a result of the Network, Defra formed a task force looking at the future of farming.

He added: “ In the last year we have had the chance to lobby Caroline Spelman, the then Farming Minister directly, organised three very successful events to inform careers advisors about the vast range of opportunities in the rural sector, and we have formed the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group, which now has 300 members.”

“This is a great opportunity for someone passionate about the industry who wants to highlight farming concerns and opportunities in the region,” he added.

To find out more about these voluntary roles please contact Steve Willis (07801 922 080). To apply, please send a CV and covering letter, before the end of March, to Elizabeth Hudson (elizabethh@yas.co.uk).


12 March 2013

Elizabeth  Hudson, Project Manager, Yorkshire Agricultural Society – elizabethh@yas.co.uk


About Us

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. Best known for staging the annual Great Yorkshire Show, England's Premier Agricultural event and Countryside Live, it's sister event. The value of the support it provides to regional farming and countryside initiatives has risen year on year to nearly £1m. The 2016 Great Yorkshire Show runs from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 July and Countryside Live is on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October 2016. Both take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and are flagship events for agriculture and rural life. The Society plays a key role in supporting rural life, through grants, sponsorships and has a very active education department which runs a wide range of activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of young people and their teachers about the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the landscape. An important date on the annual calendar is the annual Countryside Days event when thousands of primary school children use the showground as a resource for learning. In June 2009, the Society also opened its Regional Agricultural Centre at the showground which will be a focus for excellence for the industry, as well as the new home of the Society. Yorkshire Event Centre Limited (YEC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Society and all YEC’s profits go to fund its charitable work. Who's Who in the Yorkshire Agricultural SocietyChairman: Simon TheakstonPresident: Sarah YorkPresident Elect: Lord MiddletonChief Executive: Nigel Pulling