2019: a year of opportunity - A message from CLA Midlands Regional Director Mark Riches.

21 December 2018

Mark Riches CLA

CLA members are a diverse group, with wide-ranging interests. They also defy stereotyping. One delegate to last year’s Westminster Rural Business 2018 conference told me, with some degree of surprise, that there were far more women and younger people there than they expected. Perhaps that is why, after 112 years, we remain so relevant.

However, one shared attribute among the members I speak with is genuine optimism, and a belief of success in the long term. The fact that these people see membership as an opportunity to meet and learn from others, share experiences and receive impartial advice really does give them a head start and a better perspective on the future.

Of course, we are all hoping for a smooth and orderly Brexit. I truly believe that once we have some form of certainty, currently pent-up investment in farms and rural businesses will flow.

With continued support for farming from the government and the public we can afford to be more forward thinking, using technology and innovation to help us farm more profitably as well as offering greater environmental benefits. Our members are already at the forefront of this evolution and it is reassuring to hear of the many who are diversifying in order to support the farming business, not to leave it.

As ever, there are specific issues to be addressed. Issues we are working hard to resolve, such as improved rural connectivity, an overall reduction in rural crime, a planning regime that delivers for the countryside and a tax system that incentivises business.

If you have cause to doubt my optimism, remember that, in or out of the EU, we have always and will continue to offer the best food in the world, with the highest welfare and environmental standards. 

It just remains for me to wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2019 on behalf of all the CLA regional team.

With kind regards


Mark Riches

CLA Director Midlands



Mark leads the Midlands team and has overall responsibility for the management of the CLA’s regional business and membership. Born and bred in the Midlands, Mark joined the regional team in 2015 to work in his professional capacity as a Rural Practice Chartered Surveyor. He has spent that time advising members on issues arising from the use, ownership and occupation of land.

Having previously worked in Rural Estate Management and Property and Business Asset Management and Development, Mark has a sound understand and appreciation for the workings and challenges of rural areas and the rural economy.In 2017 Mark became a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association (ALA) and in the same year was voted onto the ALA Council. He is also a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Farmers and a member of the Farmers Club.

Mark can be contacted on mark.riches@cla.org.uk or 07971 115227 but will have limited access until 2 January.

You can download a hi-res of Mr Riches here


  • The CLA Midlands regional team supports members in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire.
  • As a membership organisation, the CLA represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses and our success is measured by how effectively we do that.
  • We have a team of experts in London and a regional structure able to give local support. We have been looking after the interests of our members, as well as promoting the positive aspects of land ownership and land management, for the past 100 years.
  • CLA members own approximately half the rural land in England and Wales, and the resulting expertise puts us in a unique position to formulate policies and lobby effectively.
  • For news and more information on our events, campaigns, lobbying and advice see the regional pages on our website or follow us on Twitter @CLAMidlands