A West Midlands farmer has been elected as the new chairman of the NFU national dairy board in England.

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Tenant farmer Michael Oakes, who runs a closed herd of 180 pedigree Holsteins at Rednal near Birmingham, succeeds Rob Harrison.

Tom Rawson, a dairy farmer from West Yorkshire, was elected as the board’s new vice chairman.

“I’d like to thank Rob for his tireless work in what has been an extremely testing period for the dairy industry over the past two years,” said Oakes.

“We all know the prospects in the short term for the sector are not good and many dairy farmers are at the end of their tether as they continue to experience very low prices. I’m sure it won't be an easy ride for any of us – we therefore need to pull together as a national board with clear aims and objectives ensuring NFU members know that they are not on their own. We need to build newer, stronger relationships throughout the supply chain in order to create economic stability.

“Consumers have made it clear that they want to see a thriving British dairy sector that is sustainable in the long-term – we need to ensure that they can continue to buy high quality British dairy products in the future.”