The Friend category of Guild membership is for people who, by nature of their employment, do not qualify for full membership but who have an interest in the activities of the Guild and want to forge or maintain links with its members.
Among recently signed-up Friends of the Guild are Rob Yorke (right), a land agent and rural commentator who lives near Abergavenny.
“My mortgage is paid through my work as a rural chartered surveyor specialising in professional services to utilities regarding pipeline and overhead line installations,” says Rob. “But I have a passion for writing, with articles on fishing and similar topics published in a number of rural sports titles including Total FlyFisher, Trout & Salmon, The Field and Shooting Times.
Rob also writes a wildlife column for the Brecon & Radnor Express, compiled The Little Book of Fishing for WH Smith, and has presented two series broadly covering how to live off the land for the Discovery television channel.
“I’m currently undertaking a Fellowship paper for the RICS and RAC,” adds Rob. “My chosen subject, ‘Who Runs the Countryside?’ is not about ownership but rather on how we engage the imagination of the majority (91% UK urban based population) while understanding the requirements of the minority (rural sector) in coming to a balance of the present day demands on the countryside.
“With EU demands for benefits beyond food and the Foresight report requiring sustainable intensification of production, it’s a considerable challenge.”
Another Friend of the Guild, Ian Leach, is Regional Director with animal health and nutrition specialist, Alltech – a keen supporter of IFAJ activities and initiatives. This role involves working closely with many different sectors of the supply chain, which historically has been mainly focussed on feed manufacturers, merchants, farmers, vets and consultants.
“With increasing opportunity to add value through the whole supply chain, my focus is on pulling together businesses from the different sectors,” says Ian.
His career started with The Royal Bank of Scotland as a trainee business manager before realising a passion to work in agriculture. He gained an HND and BSc Hons in Animal Science sponsored by AF Plc (now part of Carrs Billington Agriculture), and then took on a field sales manager’s role advising farmers and selling animal feed and supplements.
At Alltech, which he joined in 2001, Ian has risen through the ranks to become responsible for the UK business, along with European strategy input and two product management roles.
Apart from his two young children, running and cycling takes up most of Ian’s spare time and he about to embark on a fundraising cycle ride for Royal Manchester Childrens’ Hospital from Lands End to John O’Groats in nine days. Any Guild member wishing to support his efforts can visit Ian JustGiving website page here and follow the challenge’s progress here.