Leading voice of West's beef farmers returns to NBA
5th August 2016
Beef farmer Bill Harper has returned to the National Beef Association's (NBA) board, with an aim to put the spotlight on commercial, political and health issues during his tenure.
Mr Harper, who farms 530 acres with 200 suckler cows and 250 breeding ewes in Devon, is a former chairman of the South West Beef Council and served on the NBA Board in 2005.
He chaired the TB committee and as a member of Defra's TB Eradication Advisory Group, and was responsible for founding the VLA 9 project, the forerunner of the current policy for controlling the disease.
Bill Harper will be bringing his cross-industry expertise back to the NBA board
Bill said: "I am honoured to have been invited to join the NBA Board, and during my time I would like to see the NBA consulted on all beef related issues.
"It has representatives on all key beef related committees and its views and policies are widely sought and reported by all forms of the media.
"Most importantly its members must be powerfully and demonstrably represented by the officers and the board. To do this our policies must be well thought through and clearly presented to all sides of our industry."
Born into a farming family and currently farming at Way Farm in North Tamerton and Trepoyle Farm with his wife Suzanne, Mr Harper brings experience from all aspects of the industry to the NBA Board.
He started his career as a fieldsman with North Devon Meat before working in the animal feed industry and setting up Harpers Homemix Ltd in 1992. In addition to the NBA, he is also a director of Meat Southwest and Gwinear Farmers Ltd.
Bill and Suzanne have the Bedford herd of pedigree polled South Devons, the Tamar Valley herd of pedigree Black Limousins and Lleyn and Lleyn cross Texel ewes. They finish their own stock to sell and also sell breeding stock. In addition to the livestock, the family grows 50 acres of cereals to feed the cattle.
Mr Harper will be using this wide cross section of experience to bear in this work for the NBA Board, with a key focus on the commercial, political and animal health.
He said: "On the commercial front we must do more to aid our customers in adding value to our product. To do this we must highlight and challenge unfair trading practices and continue to press for adjudication or government intervention.
"Finally, the area of health is going to be key going forward and we must continue to play our part in supporting an effective BVD programme for England, as we do through our involvement with BVD Free, and also continue the highly influential work on TB and other diseases."
The NBA is a highly committed charitable organisation and is a proactive and important beef industry body. NBA Chairman, David Thomlinson commented on the appointment of Bill Harper: "We are delighted to welcome Bill to the NBA Board. One of our key aims is to raise the profile of the British beef industry. Bill brings a huge amount of knowledge and experience having been born and raised into a farming family, and this is instrumental in involving members of the NBA and enhancing and improving the great work that the NBA already carries out.
Bill considers the key challenges for members to be driving costs out of the business using on-farm efficiencies and technology that can make a difference.
He concluded: "The NBA can play a key role in getting better techniques explained to farmers in a language the majority will understand and in a format that makes logical sense. Our members must feel that the NBA is there for them with information, representation and a passion for our product."