Can agriculture continue to take money from the public purse is the topical subject for the next debate organised by the Future Farmers of Yorkshire group.

Held at the Great Yorkshire Showground on Thursday 5 February, the discussions will be set against the backdrop of unstable commodity prices, the forthcoming general election and increased pressures on EU and UK government budgets. Lord de Mauley, Defra Under Secretary of State for the Natural Environment and Science will give a presentation and be one of the panelists at the event.

The group brings together younger famers, vets and industry supporters for regular meetings and social events and is hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Elizabeth Hudson, the Society’s Project Manager said: “Future Farmer debates are always lively and thought provoking, and given the government’s continuing erosion of support for farmers set against public concern about the provenance of food, this is sure to be both informative and entertaining as our panel look at the various perspectives.”

In addition to Lord De Mauley, speakers are Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agriculture, HSBC, David Hamer, the NFU’s West Riding County Chairman, Ian Backhouse, an arable and beef farmer from Goole, Dorothy Fairburn, Regional Director for the CLA and Richard Longthorp, an East Riding pig producer and Chairman of the National Pig Association.* see below for further biographical details

The event, which is free, begins at 6.15pm with a light supper. For more information or to register for a place, contact Elizabeth on 07702 598108 or


27 January 2015

Media contact: Judy Thompson, PR Manager, Yorkshire Agricultural Society 01423 546218 or


Lord de Mauley – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Rupert de Mauley is parliamentary under secretary of state for the
natural environment and science at Defra. He was appointed in September
2012. Prior to that he had been a government whip in the House of Lords
since the Coalition came to office in May 2010, and before that an
opposition whip from 2005. While a whip he served also as a
parliamentary spokesman on treasury, business, welfare and other
matters. Brought up on a farm, Lord de Mauley qualified as a chartered
accountant, then worked as an investment banker in the City and the Far
East in the 1980s and 1990s and ran an IT services company from 1999 to

He served as a TA soldier from 1975, commanding his regiment from 2003
until retirement in 2005. He rode as an amateur under National Hunt
rules and on the flat in the Far East. He is married to Lucinda and
their home is a farm in west Oxfordshire.

Allan Wilkinson – Head of Agriculture HSBC

Allan Wilkinson is responsible for the bank’s farming customers in the UK, taking up the role in 2010. A dairy farmer’s son from the North East of England, he has been involved with farming and the food industry throughout his career.

An agriculture graduate, he was an MMB Farm Management Consultant before joining Midland Bank in 1988. Allan is a Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Farmers and was awarded an Associateship of the Royal Agricultural Societies in 2013. He serves on the Steering Board of the associated Prince's Rural Action Programme and BERG - the Business Emergency Recovery Group. He also serves on the Steering Board of Farming Futures.

David Hamer

David Hamer is the West Riding NFU County Chairman and farms at his family’s hill farm at Rishworth, Halifax. He also works part-time with Kirklees Council as animal health officer

Ian Backhouse

Ian Backhouse is an arable and beef farmer who runs the family farming business in Goole. He has undertaken a range of roles within the NFU and he has chaired the European Farm Organisation's cereals working group where he led top-level discussions in Europe at a challenging time for the industry.

Dorothy Fairburn

A farmer’s daughter from the North York Moors, where her brothers still farm, Dorothy has more than 30 years’ service to the rural economy since graduating from Wye College (University of London) with a degree in agriculture.  Prior to joining the CLA, where she is Regional Director, Dorothy worked for Savills and the National Trust. She was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to rural affairs.

Richard Longthorp

Richard is a pig producer from the East Riding of Yorkshire, he is also Chairman of the National Pig Association, Chairman of the Pig Industry Training Strategy Implementation Group, the AgriSkills Strategy Group, and a BPEX board member. In January 2011 he was awarded an OBE for services to the farming industry.


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