New Network Head Announced

The region’s link with Defra has a new head, and timing could not be more appropriate with the announcement of Defra’s 25 Year Food and Farming Plan consultation for Yorkshire and the North East scheduled for Tuesday 1 December.

NB: Images available to download at the bottom of the release

Madge Moore, has been appointed Chairman of the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network which brings together rural communities, businesses and the food and farming industries, to identify and feedback local issues and concerns direct to Government. The Network is hosted and supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, best known as the organiser of the annual Great Yorkshire Show. She succeeds Charles Mills who became Show Director of the Great Yorkshire Show earlier this year.

Her role will encompass leading discussions with Defra and related organisations at both national and regional levels, including Future Farmers of Yorkshire. One of her first tasks will be to chair the Defra consultation meeting at 12 noon on Tuesday 1 December at Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

The event will showcase a number of Yorkshire examples of:

- Productivity and the Growing Economy

- Exporting to Global Markets

- Innovation and Agriculture

Speakers include James Hopwood, Director, Ibbotsons Produce Ltd, at York, Prof Rob Edwards, Head of Agriculture, University of Newcastle and Chair of the Farmer Scientist Network which is based at the showground, and Sam Hoste, on the planned livestock Centre for Agricultural Innovation based at the national AgriFood Innovation Campus, York.

This follows similar events around the country and provides a valuable opportunity to feed into and influence the government’s vision for agriculture over the next two decades and beyond.

Commenting on her new role Madge said: “I am delighted to take up this appointment and look forward to building on the Network’s activity to date and Charles's leadership.  The Network is ideally placed to act as a two way channel of communication to respond proactively to Defra’s latest Food and Farming Plan.  I will continue to make it a priority that the voice of Yorkshire’s food, farming and rural businesses is heard and that both national and regional agencies respond accordingly.”

Madge, who was brought up on an East Yorkshire farm and lives in Roos near Withernsea, has extensive experience - as a farmer, and also on the national stage. Most recently she was Lantra’s National Director focusing on employer engagement across the environmental and land-based businesses.

An honours graduate in Botany, Madge began her career as a hybrid wheat breeder for Nickersons in Lincolnshire before she and her husband moved to his family farm in New Zealand. There she helped manage the mixed arable and livestock farm looking after 2,000+ breeding Romney sheep and mohair goats whilst developing various export initiatives, including evening primrose, grass seed and out of season plant multiplications for UK breeding firms.

On their return to the UK, Madge worked firstly for the Agricultural Training Board in Yorkshire and then Lantra. For the last two decades her national role has included working at senior levels with government, regional development agencies, trade, education and professional organisations, charities, as well as with employers in the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

To register for the Defra consultation meeting, please see: 

Information about the Network can be found at:


13 November 2015

Judy Thompson, PR Manager – 01423 546215 or

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was established in 1837 with the primary purpose of holding an agricultural show and for the furtherance and support of farming in the region. This ethos continues today, through its flagship events, the Great Yorkshire Show (Tues 12 – Thurs 14 July 2016) and Countryside Live, (Sat 17 and Sun 18 October 2015).  Year round it has an active programme of events and activities supporting the farming and rural communities, particularly in the North of England. It hosts a number of organisations including the Yorkshire Rural Support Network, the Farmer Scientist Network, Future Farmers of Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network. It also runs Fodder, the award winning regional food shop and café. The Society is based at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, N. Yorkshire. For more information see


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