First Milk appoint former Farming Minister Sir Jim Paice as new chairman

MP Jim Paice at home in Cambridgshire

MP Jim Paice at home in Cambridgshire - Credit: Archant

East Anglia-based MP and former Farming Minister Sir James Paice has landed a new role heading up a co-operative wholly owned by dairy farmers.

Sir James, who has strong links with Suffolk and Essex, announced in March that he would be stepping down as South-East Cambridgeshire MP in 2015 after 28 years.

He will chair First Milk from the end of October, when current chairman Bill Mustoe steps down at the company’s AGM.

During his Parliamentary career, he has held a number of ministerial and shadow ministerial positions, most recently he served as Minister of State for Agriculture & Food in the Coalition Government from 2010 – 12.

Mr Mustoe said: “We are delighted to have recruited Jim and I am convinced that he will bring valuable skills to First Milk.

“From our meetings with him, he has demonstrated a detailed understanding of the dairy sector, very strong communication skills and a considerable network of contacts. Equally importantly for our farmer members, Jim has a deep understanding and empathy for farming.

“As a former Minister of State responsible for Agriculture & Food and Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Rural Affairs for six years prior to that, he brings considerable knowledge and experience of not only the domestic market, but also the international dynamics of the dairy industry.

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“He has been a champion for farmers at Westminster for over 25 years and we now look forward to him being a champion for First Milk farmers.”

Sir James said he felt “privileged” to be invited to lead the largest dairy business owned by British farmers.

“Having worked for a farmer owned business before I became an MP, and from being Minister, I have always believed that farmers should work together to influence their own destiny,” he said.

“The dairy sector has gone through difficult times recently but I have long believed there is a good future for British dairy farmers and I look forward to helping to achieve it.”