SHEEP farmer Thomas Binns has been re-elected to serve as chairman of the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) uplands forum for another two years.

Thomas farms over 750 hectares of tenanted land situated in the Bowland Area of National Beauty. He has Swaledale sheep which form part of a 2500 breeding sheep enterprise.

His vice chairman will be elected in due course.

The farm currently participates in Environmental Stewardship and has been part of various agri-environment agreements for the last 25 years.

Mr Binns said: “I’m really pleased to have been re-elected as uplands forum chairman, especially at such a critical time for hill farmers. The forum’s main focus over the next two years is going to be the sector’s transition from the CAP to a Domestic Agricultural Policy, keeping livestock and food production at the heart of uplands farming and working to ensure that uplands farmers come out of this with their businesses as viable and sustainable as possible.

“For many this is a time of great frustration as we still don’t know what is going to happen at the end of this year, and the COVID-19 outbreak has added even more pressure and uncertainty about the future. Myself and the rest of the uplands forum and NFU team are committed to working on members’ behalf so they can keep their focus on the day job of producing quality, affordable food and caring for the environment and our iconic landscapes.”

North West representative is Richard Pedley, who farms a 1200 acre hill sheep and beef farm which is situated on the Cumbria/Lancashire Border within the newly extended Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The farm runs a pedigree flock of Swaledales and breeds Swaledales and North of England Mules; pedigree Swaledale ewes are kept within the flock as replacements and males are sold either to Marks and Spencer or as shearlings for breeding. A closed herd of 40 beef cows made up of pedigree British Blues and commercial Limousin and Blue and Limousin crosses also keep Richard busy on the farm.