Paul Wolferstan from Statfold, near Tamworth, has been elected Chairman of the Staffordshire Branch of the CLA, which represents landowners farmers and rural businesses.
As well as managing the family’s agricultural estate in South Staffordshire with his wife Angela, Paul works as a consultant around technology and data use for advertising agencies and investors in London. He originally trained as a research biologist and worked on the biochemistry of the endophytic fungi of agricultural grasslands, including their ability to make new medicinal compounds.
Speaking of his new appointment and of his hopes for Staffordshire’s rural economy, Mr Wolferstan said: “CLA members clearly have the skills, determination and entrepreneurial spirit to deliver the next chapter of the nation's needs from the countryside, but we need clarity from government around the detail of agricultural transition and how it will cross over with other areas such as planning, inheritance and taxation. No one can plan properly for the future with the current levels of uncertainty, and the present very short-termist mindset of Westminster does not work well for land managers and rural businesses who need to think in much longer timescales.
“It is important that the organisations which represent those who live and work in the countryside continue to work together to present a united front to government, and do not allow the businesses and livelihoods of their members to be quietly negotiated away in a faceless Whitehall office. We have worked hard to achieve some of the highest environmental and food standards in the world, and we should not be throwing them away and, by proxy, exporting our environmental impact to other countries.
“The CLA needs to clearly communicate the suitability of its membership to solving the government's current agricultural, environmental and carbon objectives, as well as showing that its members have been providing public goods, rural productivity and innovation for many years already. An important part of this will be to ensure that the CLA's voice is also heard outside Westminster, building relationships with a much wider group of stakeholders, including the public, so that we have a wider base of support as guardians of the rural environment.
“Staffordshire's size and the diversity of both its landscape and its membership mean that there is significant opportunity for its rural economy in the coming years if it embraces change. My ambition for the CLA in Staffordshire is to enable its members as fully as possible to rise early to the challenge and lead by example”.
Paul is also a member of the national CLA Business and Rural Economy Committee. In his spare time, he is a fan of outdoor pursuits including wild camping, adventure travel, bushcraft, tracking and canoeing.
Hi res of Paul Woferstan here