East Anglia: NFU appoints county advisers

Five new county adviser positions are being created in East Anglia by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

The NFU is strengthening its support for farmers and growers with the new posts, which will formally start on November 1.

In Norfolk, Alex Dinsdale will be working on behalf of NFU members in the county from Easton College, giving advice and guidance on policy issues, coordinating local activity, and ensuring their views are heard.

The new Suffolk county adviser is Rachel Carrington, who is senior policy adviser for NFU East Anglia based at Newmarket.

“Agriculture is a really important sector for Suffolk, with farmers supporting thousands of jobs, managing the countryside and producing quality food. It also has the potential to deliver more in areas such as renewable energy. I’m really looking forward to getting involved, representing our members within the county and helping them with the issues affecting their businesses.”

She studied agriculture at Reading University before spending nine years with Adas in Suffolk as an agronomist and business management consultant.

She joined the NFU’s regional team in 1994, specialising in the arable and horticulture sectors and leading on Common Agricultural Policy reform. In 1998 she spent six months working at the NFU’s office in Brussels.

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Mr Dinsdale, who was born and brought up in south Norfolk, said: “One of my first jobs will be to meet Norfolk’s officeholder team to help understand the priorities and concerns of local NFU members. I will also be meeting those members of the NFU who are less actively involved with the organisation.

“A key part of my new role will be building closer links with other organisations in the county, such as local authorities, the police, businesses in the agricultural supply and food chains and environmental groups. I want to work with them to help Norfolk agriculture thrive.”

Mr Dinsdale grew up on his parents’ smallholding in south Norfolk, near Bungay. He graduated from Wye College in 2000 and obtained an MSc in rural development from Imperial College in 2004.

He joined the NFU’s regional team as countryside adviser in 2009. He was at the NFU’s head office as an adviser on topics, including organic farming, bovine TB and transport legislation.

Hannah Padfield will be working as county adviser in Cambridgeshire.

She grew up on her parents’ farm in west Essex, near Bishop’s Stortford.

She graduated from Reading University in 1993 and obtained an MSc in rural and regional resources planning from Aberdeen University in 1996.

She joined the NFU’s regional team as assistant business development manager in 2005, having worked as county development officer for Essex Young Farmers’ Clubs.

NFU regional director Pamela Forbes said: “Our county adviser positions are all about listening to, and working with, members in the heart of their community and striving to make a real difference on their behalf.”