Incoming President of leading rural group pledges commitment to the countryside

New President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Mark Tufnell, has vowed to champion the rural economy in his two-year presidency of the association which advises and supports farmers, land managers and rural business in Wales and England.
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Mark Tufnell addressing CLA Cymru members in North Wales recently

Mr Tufnell, succeeds Northumberland landowner Mark Bridgeman as the 55th president in the Association’s 114-year history. He addressed CLA Cymru members in North Wales this autumn. On taking-up his presidency, Mr Tufnell has outlined three priorities that will be at the heart of his tenure:

- Helping farmers and landowners move their business towards net zero to combat climate change

- Promoting the Rural Powerhouse Campaign in ‘levelling up’ the rural economy

- Supporting members through the agricultural transition towards the new Sustainable Farming scheme in Wales and the Westminster Government Environmental Land Management scheme in England

“My ambition is to ensure that CLA Cymru is the voice of the countryside, championing the whole of the rural economy” said Mr Tufnell.

“The CLA has never been more important or relevant at a time when the agriculture sector is facing the biggest policy-change in 50 years. As President, my challenge is to help members plan for the future and adapt their businesses so they are equipped for this change.

We will be a vocal but constructive voice around the table in Cardiff and Westminster, ensuring members’ voices are heard as we seek to build a profitable and environmentally-sustainable sector.

Mark Tufnell, CLA President

Mr Tufnell also backed the CLA’s Rural Powerhouse campaign, calling on governments to ensure rural communities are included in the UK Government’s ‘levelling up agenda’.

“We are ambitious for rural Britain and determined to see it succeed. Rural businesses can create jobs, build homes, help develop new environmental markets and strengthen communities across the country – but we can only do so if governments match this ambition,” he added.

“If the rural economy is to fulfil its potential, we need to see robust government strategies – including creating a fully connected countryside, a reformed planning system fit for rural communities, additional investment in skills and a simpler tax regime.”

Based in the Cotswolds, Mr Tufnell’s traditional 2,000-acre estate is mainly arable producing oats for Jordans, wheat for Warburtons and malting barley, while incorporating key conservation measures for wildlife and enhancing biodiversity. He has graziers with both sheep and pedigree Dexter cattle on the unimproved limestone grassland. The woodland is under active management.

Mr Tufnell studied veterinary science and land economy at Cambridge before training as a chartered accountant. He has been involved with the CLA for more than 20 years. The family business has been diversified by upgrading residential properties alongside converting disused farm buildings into a recording studio, an interior design workshop, a wedding venue and office space for a solicitors’ firm. There are further plans for flexible office space and workshops.