The Farmers Mart Summer 2017 - Issue 51 - Page 84

Greystones Farm Eyes firmly fixed on farming’s future Chris Berry talks with new NFU North Riding & County Durham chairman James Bainbridge » » WHEN JAMES BAINBRIDGE left school all he wanted, in common with many others lads who have grown up on farms, was to get behind the wheel of big machines. Today he still retains that enthusiasm for on-farm kit but he’s now also helping steer the expanding family business at Greystones Farm in Seamer near Stokesley and has recently settled into a new driving seat as chairman of the North Riding & County Durham region of the NFU. ‘I’ve been involved with the NFU since leaving the Young Farmers,’ says James. ‘I wanted to keep active and started at branch meetings in Stokesley, where I became chairman. I think we’re in a fantastic industry and I’m always interested in making sure it says that way.’ While there is generally a call for younger blood like James to take up senior NFU roles he understands why others may be in a less opportune position than he in terms of support at home. ‘I’m very fortunate that I have my dad, uncle and cousin who all work incredibly hard and can take over what I leave behind when attending events and meetings. I fully understand a lot of other young farmers are as keen and enthusiastic but don’t haven’t the time or resources that I have available.’ James also points to the direction he was given by his cousin Simon Dunn of Breck House Enterprises who advised him to study rather than simply getting behind the wheel of a tractor for the rest of his life. ‘I’d worked for Simon and it was his words that set me on my way. Being a young lad all I really wanted was to drive tractors around but he told me I could do better than that and to get myself off to college. It was a big decision as I didn’t feel it was going to be right at the time but I now know what others talk about when they say some of the best years of their lives were at college. I went to Bishop Burton College, had a brilliant time, learned far more than I ever would have at home and made friends for life. It was an incredible experience and I will always tell others to do the same.’ 84 Summer 2017 www.farmers-mart.co.uk Brexit and glyphosate restrictions are currently top of James’ NFU-related agenda. ‘I really think Brexit will take a great deal of sorting out. The government will need pointing in the right direction by the NFU and many other organisations because there is no blueprint for leaving the single market. What concerns me is that our government might let in a lot of foreign food imports produced to a lower standard than ours. We’re producing what I believe is the best in the world. We need to get that message out to the public.’ ‘Scaremongering over the use of Roundup and glyphosate is something that needs dealing with. If I lost its use it would be the equivalent of farming without machinery. Using glyphosate is a no-brainer. I just can’t see why there is a move get it stopped. That’s a subject that is particularly close to my heart.’ James, his father David, uncle Les and cousin Jonathan farm 1500 acres and with most of it being arable land it is not difficult to see why he feels so strongly. ‘We have 250 acres here at Greystones but we farm around 1500 acres overall through renting or contract farming on what amounts to ten different holdings within 7 miles. Dad and my uncle set up an agricultural contracting business when I was at school and as a number of their customers have reached retirement age we have started farming their land for them. That