A MEMBER of one of South Lakeland’s most prominent farming families has been elected chairman of the Cumbrian branch of the National Farmers’ Union.

Richard Geldard, 39, takes over from Alan Dickinson, who retires after completing two years in the leading role.

Mr Geldard farms in partnership with his brother Charles and parents John and Rachel at Low Foulshaw Farm in Levens, near Kendal.

It is a mixed farm comprising stabiliser beef cattle, pedigree Lleyn and Charollais sheep and laying hens.

The operation also incorporates an egg packing business.

In the past, Mr Geldard was involved with the Young Farmers’ Club movement and in 2000 was proud to be named its member of the year.

He was also named the NFU’s Young Farmer of the Year in 2004.

In preparation for his step up to NFU Cumbria county chairman, Mr Geldard has been actively involved with the politics of his industry.

He has held roles including chairman of the North of England region of the British Charollais Sheep Society, council member at the Royal Agricultural Society of England and a member of the NFU North West’s poultry board.

The outgoing chairman, who farms poultry at North Netherscales Farm, Penrith, said he wished Mr Geldard well in his new role.

Looking back, Mr Dickinson said his own tenure had been ‘very busy’ and ‘occasionally difficult’.

“The key issues we’ve had to deal with in my two years have been CAP reform, bovine TB and the consequences of last spring’s bad snow,” said Mr Dickinson.

“And, of course, there was the horsegate scandal, which showed how important it is for people to be sure where their meat is sourced from.

“It’s been a difficult two years but the problems have not been insurmountable.

“Thankfully, there have been no great catastrophes.”