The new Chairman of the Berkshire branch of the CLA, Andrew Chandler, has urged farmers and businesses to share their views and work together at a time of great change in the agricultural sector.
Mr Chandler replaced Andrew Gardiner at a committee meeting today (Wednesday), in one of the most important rural roles in the county.
Mr Chandler is Head of Rural Agency for the property consultants Carter Jonas, and deals with the sale of rural property, farms, estates and land across the South East region. A farmer’s son, he grew up on the family farm in Farnborough on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire borders and has strong links to the rural sector via both his family and wider business role.
Mr Chandler, who is based in East Ilsley, said: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Chairman of the Berkshire CLA branch this summer, and would like to express my gratitude to Andrew Gardiner for his extended tenure in the role and imparting his extensive knowledge of it onto me.
“With an ever-changing and challenged sector, I look forward to working with the committee and wider members to help them plot a path for their own businesses through the next few years. The information available helps inform opinion and the sharing of ideas through the collaboration of members is key in my opinion.
“The lobbying power of the CLA is a great asset and needs to be utilised more – contact with and participation with the committee is a great way to make your own views heard. We need to be hearing from members direct as to the impact on their businesses of sector reform and market pressures, and I welcome discussion with anyone who wishes to be part of the committee or just share their views.”
As Berkshire branch Chairman, Mr Chandler will be representing farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the county at a time of great change in the industry. Agriculture is transitioning away from EU subsidies towards new schemes which will pay for public goods, while the Government’s levelling up plans have so far lacked details about how it will support the rural economy.
CLA South East Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “We wish to place on record our sincere thanks to Andrew Gardiner for his tremendous work, ideas and enthusiasm over the course of his chairmanship.
“We are delighted to welcome Andrew Chandler into the role and look forward to working closely with him over the next few years, at such an important time for the rural sector.”
Outgoing Chairman Mr Gardiner said: “It has been a privilege to lead the CLA’s Berkshire branch over the last few years.
“The committee structure is a great strength of the CLA, but the committees can only be effective with the support and contribution of the members. Even in a small county like Berkshire, the CLA represents a very diverse range of rural businesses, so I thank all those members who have given up their time and knowledge voluntarily to help contribute towards the success of the CLA’s work.
“I wish Andrew all the best in the role, and I know the Berkshire branch is in good hands under his leadership.”