Carmarthenshire farmer unanimously elected as Farmers’ Union of Wales President
Carmarthenshire farmer Ian Rickman has been unanimously elected President of the Farmers’ Union of Wales, taking over from Glyn Roberts, who served for 8 years in the role.
Mr Rickman is a sheep and beef farmer who has previously served in the union as South Wales regional vice president in 2017 and Deputy President in 2019. He previously stood as a delegate and chair of the FUW hill farming committee as well as county chairman.
He says his lifelong passion for farming began in 1975 at age 13 on his parents’ farm in Llangadog, where he helped rear sheep and a herd of Welsh Black suckler cows, before attending the Welsh Agricultural college in Aberystwyth.
He gained work experience during his sandwich year with a large dairy farm in Pendine, to which he returned as herdsman after his course. There, he continued working for Iori and Heulwen Evans for a couple of years, before taking up positions in New Zealand and Australia to gain further farming experience.
When his father’s health started to deteriorate in the late 1980s he came back home to Gurnos.
Today he is in a share farming agreement with his business partner Sean Jeffreys; they keep sheep and rear Wagyu calves.
Mr Rickman says that among his priorities on stepping into the role are issues such as the Sustainable Farming Scheme, the Agriculture Bill, funding for agriculture, and the NVZ regulations.
He said: “Funding for farming in Wales urgently needs clarity. At the moment we more or less know what we can expect until 2024 in terms of support for agriculture, but after that you fall off a cliff if you try to do any sort of cash flow or business planning.
“We realistically don’t know the details of how farm support is going to look going forward. A lot of my work in the immediate future is going to focus on getting clarity for our members on this,” said the newly elected FUW President.
He says that Bovine TB is also an issue that is at the forefront of his mind. “It has been an issue for the previous generation, and it will remain an issue for the next generation of farmers if nothing changes. We will work with the new chief vet and the Welsh Government to continue trying to find workable solutions to the issue.
“There should however be no misunderstanding – members are at the end of their tether and the ongoing TB situation is a huge concern to farmers here in Wales, which ultimately also puts our food security at risk.”
Mr Rickman says he hopes to encourage more young members to join the FUW and encourage more members to take up roles as officials within the organisation, both locally and nationally.
“Succession in the FUW is just as important as it is on a farm. I’m passionate about the Union and the FUW is completely democratic and will remain completely democratic.
“It is run by members, and we work from our grassroots-based system. However, there are barriers to succession in the Union and I will work with the team to resolve those so that the Union can remain thriving and sustainable, ensuring that we have thriving, sustainable family farms here in Wales.”
Speaking about his election to President of the Farmers’ Union of Wales he said: “I never envisioned being President of the FUW but am truly honoured to be elected into the role.
“I must thank Glyn Roberts for his dedicated service for the past 8 years. The boots I have to fill are huge and there can never be enough words to convey our debt and gratitude to Glyn for all he has done.”
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