An experienced farming specialist, born and bred on a farm in East Yorkshire, has been appointed the new regional director for the NFU in the North East.
Richard Pearson joins the organisation after a varied career in agriculture that has taken him all around the country, working for companies of varying sizes in the arable, horticulture and allied industry sectors.
After graduating from Harper Adams University in 1992, Mr Pearson began his career as a grain trader for Allied Grain in East Anglia, which is now part of Frontier Agriculture.
He moved from there into the horticulture sector, working as commercial manager for a vegetable producer in Suffolk before joining an import/export company, where he gained first-hand experience of working with major retail customers.
Moving back to Yorkshire in 2000, Mr Pearson set up his own small agricultural machinery business, catering for the organic sector, before joining another new business developing environmentally-friendly weed control technologies.
With that venture moving increasingly into the amenity market, Mr Pearson was keen to move back to mainstream agriculture.
He takes over at the NFU regional office from Barney Kay, who left his post to join Northern Irish poultry producers Moy Park.
Mr Pearson, who lives in Malton with his wife Polly and three children Kate, Annie and Tom, said: “I am delighted to take up my new role with the NFU in a region as diverse as the North East.
“Farming really is a passion for me and I am looking forward to working with our 6,000 members across Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland.
“Obviously I come very much from a commercial background, but I hope that will enable me to bring something new to the role, as I find out more about the specific challenges and opportunities facing farmers across the patch.
“Key initial priorities include the implementation of the latest round of CAP reform and looking at how we can develop our ability to cope with the extreme weather patterns that are increasingly affecting the region.
“However, to begin with, I will be concentrating on meeting as many members as possible and getting a real feel for their needs, aspirations and views on how the NFU can best support their business development.”
The NFU’s mission is to support British farming, providing professional representation and services to its farmer and grower members.
It has 55,000 members across England and Wales, 83,000 of which have farm holdings greater than 50 acres of land.
The NFU recently produced a Back British Farming charter, which has gained the support of numerous North East farmers.
Launched in August after statistics showed the UK produces just 62% of its own food, the charter calls on the public, politicians, retailers and the food industry to pull together and help Britain produce, source and consume more home-produced food.