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Yorkshire Food, Farming & Rural Network

The Yorkshire Food, Farming & Rural Network is made up of local groups representing different areas of England, to identify and feedback local issues and concerns straight to the heart of Government, in order to make policies more rural-friendly.

The Networks bring together people from rural communities, rural businesses and the food and farming industries. They will make a direct link between rural areas and the Government, creating new opportunities to develop better and more targeted policy.

Each group will be a point of contact providing feedback to Defra on the impact of local emergencies – such as flooding - so that the right kind of assistance can be provided to keep businesses running.

The below link demonstrates how the Yorkshire Food, Farming & Rural Support Network works with the countrywide networks.

Contact Details

The Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Support Network was successful in its bid to join the new national Network.

The Chair, an honours graduate in Botany, Madge began her career as a hybrid wheat breeder for Nickersons in Lincolnshire before she and her husband moved to his family farm in New Zealand. There she helped manage the mixed arable and livestock farm looking after 2,000+ breeding Romney sheep and mohair goats whilst developing various export initiatives, including evening primrose, grass seed and out of season plant multiplications for UK breeding firms.

On their return to the UK, Madge worked firstly for the Agricultural Training Board in Yorkshire and then Lantra. For the last two decades her national role has included working at senior levels with government, regional development agencies, trade, education and professional organisations, charities, as well as with employers in the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

Chair:  Madge Moore
Mob:  07951 153 238

The Network is hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and the Project Manager is Holly Jones - Tel: 01423 546251 or

You can also follow us on LinkedIn!

The Executive Committee is made up of the following:

Name Organisation
Suzanne Stirke Rural Businesswoman
Elizabeth Hudson Yorkshire Agricultural Society
Nigel Pulling Yorkshire Agricultural Society
James Hopwood Future Farmers of Yorkshire and YFYFC
Adam Beford National Farmers Union
Dorothy Fairburn Country Land and Business Association
Dave Melling Bradford Council
Helen Wright East Riding of Yorkshire Council and East Riding Partnership
Andy Tordoff Defra RDPE Team
Dean Cook Technology Strategy Board
Janet Thornton Involve Y&H, Rural Action Yorkshire and ACRE
Leah Swain Rural Action Yorkshire
Emma Smailes Federation of Small Businesses
Graham Finn McCain Foods
Kate Dale Yorkshire Rural Support Network

The Network is focussing on the following issues:

  • New Entrants
  • Water
  • Broadband
  • Business Support for Smaller Businesses

To find out more about these projects or to suggest other opportunities please do get in touch with Suzanne Stirk or Holly Jones.

Terms of Reference

More information about the Yorkshire Food, Farming & Rural Support Network can be found in our Terms of Reference.


On Tuesday 1st December - food, farming and rural representatives from across Yorkshire had the opportunity to hear Defra’s current thinking for the development of their 25 Year Food and Farming Plan along with hearing exciting local initiatives. Initiatives included the development of the two Agri-Innovation Centres, the Farmer-Scientist Network and Future Farmers of Yorkshire.

Please see below the presentations that took place on the day:

Productivity & Precision Farming by David Blacker, Arable Farmer
Introduction to the Farmer Scientist Network by Prof Rob Edwards, Chair, Farmer Scientist Network
Introduction to the Future Farmers of Yorkshire by James Hopwood, Farmer, Director & Future Farmer of Yorkshire
Introduction to the Centre for Crop Health & Protection by Hilary Aldridge, CEO of Fera Science Ltd
Yorkshire Defra Consultation by Sara Eppel, Head, Innovative & Sustainable Farming, Defra









If you have any queries, please email Holly Jones or call 01423 546 251 (Thur & Fri)


February 2016 

June 2016

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