I AM not the greatest fan of politics or politicians, but I hold to the view that unless I am prepared to do the work myself I should not be critical of others unless absolutely necessary.

This is one of those occasions and I can only speak as I find.

For nearly 20 years we were served at Westminster by John Greenway and frankly I was sorry he lost the head-to-head battle in 2006 with Anne McIntosh, as he had been a good friend to the agricultural industry and of the livestock market system.

Since Anne took over the Thirsk and Malton Constituency I have been increasingly impressed with her parliamentary performance.

At the heart of Government her robust chairmanship of the Rural Affairs Committee. She tackles the establishment head on, challenging its entrenched mantra and proffering of alternative practical solutions – as has been the case with the great flood debate.

It has been Anne who has pointed to the national disgraceful state of our water courses, whose cleansing has been sacrificed to bull rushes and otters.

Her work rate is enormous and at a local level I have always found her on hand to listen, advise and help.

Malton’s new livestock market has been and still is a political football, but Anne has been an unquestioning supporter of relocation, even chairing one of our joint meetings with councillors and the estate.

I have not come across anyone who speaks badly of Anne and from letters in the press there is clearly a growing groundswell of support for her reselection.

One of my best friends has created and grown a very successful pet food business near Thirsk, which now employs 120 people.

He has sent me a letter to say that he is “appalled” at the move to deselect Anne, quoting the many times she has helped and supported his Company.

It cannot be right to even consider throwing out our MP who has such a successful record of achievement at national level and support in the local constituency.

If you have a vote, use it wisely .


Advice on dual use rules for SPS

“Dual use” is where the owner of land is in an environmental stewardship or a woodland scheme and the occupier is the SPS claimant on the same land at the same time.

There is increasing risk that “dual use”will be disallowed, but so far there has not been any guidance from Defra in respect of the coming year.

For those who face such a situation I can only give you advice as to what is valid dual use at the present time. The following must be demonstrated in such situations:

• The occupier or tenant must show that he has the land at “his disposal” to meet SPS rules;

• The owner or landlord needs to show that he has “management control” of the same land for his scheme rules;

• The landlord/owner must demonstrate the he has required the occupier/tenant to comply with the requirements of his scheme agreement on his behalf, or that he will carry out the requirements himself.

To evidence the above there must be a written record which sets out how the landlord/ owner has “management control” and the Tenant has the same land “at his disposal”.

Unless this is already incorporated in a tenancy agreement a separate letter will suffice signed and dated by the parties.

Our profession has drafted a model letter so if anybody has concerns please contact your valuer.


Bid for better BVD understanding

BVD is a miserable cattle disease which has spread very rapidly in recent years and England is one of the few European countries that does not have an eradication scheme.

Defra has been trying to stimulate a better understanding of BVD and currently has signed up 125 vet practices who are actively involved in the programme.

Last week a letter was sent out to auctioneers recognising the key role that our markets often play in raising awareness of disease problems.

Suggestions are being floated to hold meetings on our premises where a vet can come and talk to us about BVD and how it can be best managed.

I will let you know when the first meeting is to be held, but it should be within the next couple of months.


Catchment sensitive farming scheme

Be it sprays or environmental schemes, it seems to be compulsory to invent a new name and we now have the Catchment Sensitive Farming Scheme (CSF) which is launching its capital grant offer in February with £7.5m of funding.

From what I can see on the map, the whole of the Derwent Valley running down to the Ouse is eligible and Natural England will pay 50 per cent towards a wide range of capital projects of which I give a flavour below:

• Fences and gates for water courses and buffer strips;

• Provision of water for grazing livestock;

• Management of run off and drainage water;

• New sheep dips;

• Livestock tracks.

It’s worth looking to see if you qualify.


Rosie in election

It seems quite a while since Yorkshire’s Ben Gill held the presidential chair of the NFU but our very own Rosie Dunn from Stockton-on- Forest has thrown her hat in the ring for the elections to both the deputy and vice-presidents’ office.

The elections take place at the NFU conference in Birmingham on February 26. We wish her good luck.



Forward 67 cattle, including 14 bulls and 17 cows, 694 sheep, including 83 ewes, medium steers to 274.5p G I Marwood, Harome, ave 243.93p; heavy steers to 209.5p W J Smith, Salton, ave 203.46p; medium heifers to 268.5p, G I Marwood, Harome, ave 226.34p; heavy heifers to 274.5p, G I Marwood, Harome, ave 231.49p; medium bulls to 199.5p, J and A M Craggs, Ebberston, ave 160.06p; cows to 118.5p JEW and RR Cooper and Sons, Ganton, ave 94.83p; standard hoggs to 193p, N R Maw, Rillington, ave 183.22p; medium hoggs to 196p N A Thompson, Sneaton, ave 184.17p; heavy hoggs to 197p, C & S D Leckonby, Pockley, ave 174.51p; overweight hoggs to 165p R G Brader, Thixendale, ave 161.5p. Ewes to £78 C G and E Harper and Son, Newton on Rawcliffe, ave £53.