January started the year with Claire Murray joining our team as our new Membership Relations Manager. Claire is from an arable farming family and has a degree in agricultural technology and management. She also has a masters in biotechnology and agriculture.
February saw the annual Farm Business Updates take place at venues across the region and CLA Director Cath Crowther chaired a Green Futures webinar along with industry partners.
In March, CLA Regional Director Cath Crowther met with Shadow Environment Minister Daniel Zeichner and visited the family farm of CLA Suffolk President Graham Downing.
CLA Events Manager Emily-Rose Debenham went on maternity leave in March and Elaine Molton took on the role of planning and organising CLA East events. Ellie Gemmill joined the team as our Administrations Assistant.
April saw the start of the CLA East AGM season with members visiting Rothamsted Research. Around 600 members attended AGMs and summer visits in the east region in 2023.
At the Suffolk Show in May, Defra Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey spoke at the CLA Breakfast on the first day. CLA President Mark Tufnell featured on BBC Look East discussing the important role of rural businesses to the UK economy.
A Government reshuffle later in the year would see North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay replace Dr Coffey in the Defra role.
June saw the CLA attend Groundswell, Cereals, Lincolnshire Show and the Royal Norfolk Show. Defra Minister Mark Spencer met with the CLA and members at both the Lincolnshire Show and Royal Norfolk Show.
In July, CLA East Communications Manager Lee Murphy visited Sandringham Estate in Norfolk to write a feature about Countryside Learning, a charity that was hosting an event for schoolchildren at the estate. Countryside Learning has been awarded funding from the CLA Charitable Trust to support its work.
Also in July, CLA East welcomed Eleanor Willats to the team as Graduate Rural Surveyor. Eleanor helps members with a range of enquiries regarding rural business and land management matters.
The CLA East team joined in the celebrations for Farm24 in August. Farm24 showcases the extraordinary role of British farmers as the most trusted food producers and guardians of our iconic countryside.
September saw the Nottinghamshire AGM and member visit. A floating solar farm, a reverse coal project, and a robot that kills weeds with light were some of the unique farming techniques CLA members heard about during a visit to the Lapwing Estate.
At the end of October, CLA East Director Cath Crowther began her maternity leave and the CLA welcomed Mark Riches to the role on an interim basis.
In November, CLA East hosted two popular residential lettings seminars which provide members with a range of industry updates for those who oversee a property lettings portfolio.
Finally in December CLA East will host a series of natural capital events to help members gain a better understanding of how natural capital is relevant to them and discuss the development of environmental markets.
The CLA would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members, sponsors and partners for their support across the year and wish you all the best with your rural business endeavours in 2024.