County Durham farmer Carl Stephenson has officially taken up his post as the British Wool Marketing Board’s English Northern representative.
Mr Stephenson and his wife Julia farm 400 acres of severely disadvantaged land in Teesdale, running Limousin and Beef Shorthorn suckler cows along with Swaledale ewes, purebred and crossed, Bluefaced Leicesters and North of England Mule Ewes.
He takes over from Northumberland hill farmer Malcolm Corbett following his recent election success, winning 8,373 votes, compared to Gordon Capstick’s 4,723, Brian Nutter’s 5,087 and Trevor Wilson’s 5,373.
“I am looking forward to working with other Board Members to further the success of BWMB in recent years in achieving better prices for British wool,” he said.
“I would also like to thank my predecessor, Malcolm Corbett, for his excellent work over the last six years, including the last three serving as BWMB Chairman. I will try to keep up his momentum.”
Mr Stephenson is among a quartet of new board members joining BWMB, with one other new farmer representative and several government-appointed independent members taking up posts at the same time.
Representing the English Central region will be Derbyshire-based Richard Cottrill, who has farmed in the Peak District all his life.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity of representing producers,” he said.
“I will do my utmost to ensure that BWMB continues to provide value for money to wool producers and I will work hard to further effective communication and understanding between the Board and fellow farmers.
“The Board is owned by all wool producers and is there to promote and sell British wool in the world markets.”
The new independent board members, meanwhile, are Julia Lucas and Peter Baren. Mrs Lucas comes from a finance background, being a Chartered Accountant with experience in senior finance roles in the logistics sector.
She currently has a portfolio of non-executive and interim involvements, including chairing a board of pension trustees.
“Wool producers are fundamental to the protection and viability of many of the UK’s most beautiful and iconic places, as it is their sheep which shape the environment and enable these places to retain their character,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr Baren comes to the BWMB with a broad experience of British businesses with overseas interests.
Also a chartered accountant, he has held a number of senior finance positions with organisations in the property and investment sectors as well as current non-executive roles at Humber NHS Foundation Trust, Coast and Country Housing Ltd and York St. John University.
“I look forward to playing some part in the next stage of the Board’s development over the coming years,” he said.
BWMB chief executive Ian Hartley said: “I look forward to working with our new Board Members all of whom bring experience and expertise which will benefit the Board in continuing to develop and ensure a high level of service and return to producers for their wool.”