Rural voice to influence regional decision making

 In YAS Press Releases

New devolutionary powers are evolving the focus of a rural network that gives the countryside a voice, as it seeks to ensure countryside dynamics are considered by policy makers.

The Yorkshire Food Farming and Rural Network is a group supported by farming charity the Yorkshire Agricultural Society that has been operating for more than a decade. The Network is adapting to changing local and national government agendas as Chair Madge Moore begins her third and final term at the helm.

Madge has vast experience working at senior levels with government, regional agencies, trade, education and professional organisations, charities, as well as with employers in the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

Madge is also a board member for the Hull and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership with special responsibility for rural and agriculture, Chair of Grow Yorkshire, the rural business initiative of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and a newly appointed member of the North Yorkshire and York Local Investment in Natural Capital Board.

She said: “I am delighted to be re-elected to the position of Chair of the Yorkshire Food Farming and Rural Network. With our active membership, we have made great strides to support Yorkshire’s farming, food and rural businesses. However, there is still more to be done which is why we will be focusing more on strengthening our reach into West and South Yorkshire, with the aim of engaging more proactively on a Yorkshire-wide basis, particularly as devolution and the levelling up agenda develops.”

The Yorkshire Food Farming and Rural Network hosts senior policy makers at the Great Yorkshire Show and at the 164th Show in July, welcomed East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Councillor Leo Hammond, the Council’s Cabinet and Portfolio Holder for Planning, Communities and Public Protection, on a fact-finding visit. Meanwhile, farmers had the chance to hear from Janet Hughes, Defra’s Farming and Countryside Programme Director about Environmental Land Management farm payment schemes.

An ongoing project of the Network is providing affordable professional training opportunities for food, farming and rural businesses within Yorkshire with funding from the Partnership Investment Fund and the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

This training support programme started last Autumn and has so far included courses about carbon auditing, first aid for farmers, hosting educational access visits on farms (CEVAS), and supporting SALSA (Safe & Local Supplier Approval) accreditation for food businesses. A fresh round of part-funded mentoring and assessment support with SALSA Accreditation is now available, whilst the next first aid for farmers course will be held at Selby Auction Mart on 13th November, followed by more CEVAS training in February 2024. For full details and to book places, see

As the Yorkshire Food Farming and Rural Network forges ahead, Madge as Chair will be supported by Vice Chair Jan Thornton MBE as well as the Network’s Executive Committee.

Jan, who has 30 years’ experience of active engagement in rural issues, spanning local, regional and national levels is also Vice Chair of ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) and Community First Yorkshire, a board member of the York & North Yorkshire LEP Board member and Deputy Chair of Grow Yorkshire.

The YFFRN meets three times a year and holds conferences and events to get to the heart of pressing rural issues. It also actively encourages Defra to gain first-hand experience of what the challenges are in rural Yorkshire. Among the Network’s current areas of focus are devolution and levelling up, the environment, Agricultural Transition, business support, and skills opportunities.

Food, farming and rural representatives who wish to contribute to the Network’s activities, particularly those in South and West Yorkshire, are encouraged to contact the group by emailing



  • Registered charity, Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) is proudly at the heart of Yorkshire’s farming, food and countryside: now and forever.
  • YAS supports and promotes the farming industry through events, training, grants, bursaries, scholarships, education, scientific research, practical support and stakeholder engagement.
  • YAS is supported by its family of businesses, Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show and Springtime Live.
  • Businesses and events held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in 2019 contributed £73.7 million to the economy.

Ben Barnett
YAS Public Relations Officer
Direct Line: 01423 546016


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