The Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) has been appointed as the new managing agent of the Farm Retail Association (FRA).
The FRA, which is the national body representing farm shops, farmers’ markets and pick-your-own enterprises, chose the YAS following a competitive tender process, as part of a long-term strategy described by chairman Rob Copley as “bold and forward-thinking”.
Mr Copley said: “We have big plans for the FRA and the experience YAS will bring to the association through its work with farmers and producers across the UK, will play a crucial role in making them a success.”
As well as lobbying on behalf of the county’s agricultural sector, the Harrogate-based YAS also organises the nationally important Great Yorkshire Show and runs its own farm shop and café, Fodder.
YAS deputy chief executive Heather Parry said: “The FRA embodies everything the YAS stands for: high quality, high welfare, sustainable and tasty, local produce.”
She added: “From running Fodder we know how challenging food retailing is and so are well placed to work with members to develop an even more dynamic association.”
The FRA’s members are independent retailers, which it provides with support, training, workshops and open days.
Mr Copley said: “As a farm shop owner myself, I have seen how consumer attitudes have changed and how customers are increasingly concerned about the provenance of the food they eat. Farm retailers are perfectly placed to fill this customer requirement and now is the perfect time to raise FRA’s profile and let everyone know about the great work our members are doing.”
Ms Parry added: “We are excited to maximise the positive impact the FRA has. Food retailing is changing and consumers’ concerns about sustainability are increasing; local food retailers are at the forefront of this food revolution.”