Suffolk farmer’s son becomes national agricultural adviser for CLA

THE Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has strengthened its policy team in London by appointing an agricultural adviser from a well-known Suffolk farming family.

Ed Barker, whose family is based at Lodge Farm, Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, has joined the landowners’ membership body to bolster its agricultural advisory service to its members. He will work across land use issues, food production, livestock including disease, arable and new technology.

Before joining the CLA, Ed was a parliamentary policy researcher to Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, where he specialised in rural affairs. He co-ordinated the MP’s entire rural portfolio both locally and on a national level.

Mr Barker said: “My background in mixed farming, along with a good knowledge of practical rural affairs and the development of agricultural policy, allows me to understand the key concerns affecting agricultural landowners. I am keen to develop this role, providing a solid advisory service to CLA members while helping to shape government farming policy.”

CLA East regional director Nicola Currie said: “Ed brings excellent experience and a hands-on knowledge of agriculture to this key role.”

Mr Barker holds a BSc (Econ) and MA in European Politics and was brought up on the arable farm in Westhorpe. His brother Patrick is one half of the Barker Boys, who along with cousin Brian, farms 1,260 award-winning acres.

The Barkers won the 2009 FWAG Silver Lapwing Award and the 2010 Farmers Weekly Countryside Farmer of the Year. The ethos of the farm is to look at the business in a modern way, increasing productivity while integrating sound environmental practices. The farm is now a LEAF demonstration farm. They have become poster boys for this new sustainable approach - combining hard-headed business principles with an enviable record for promoting farming to the wider public, and helping to secure the return of a host of threatened farmland animals and plants to their intensively-farmed fields.