Geldard takes the reigns at AIMS

Award-winning Cumbrian farmer and processor John Geldard was appointed the new chairman of the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers at its annual conference in Leeds last weekend.

Earlier this month, Geldard, of Low Foulshaw Farm, Kendal, was crowned as Farmers Weekly magazine's Farmer of the Year 2007 having previously received awards for his farm shop and cutting plants business.

Aims Policy Director Norman Bagley said: "John is forward-thinking and well-regarded, and his expertise in bringing farming, meat processing and retailing together will be a big asset to AIMS.

"John has a deep understanding of the issues facing the industry, a good knowledge of the market and the vision and determination to make things happen."

Geldard, 56, farms beef, sheep and free-range poultry with his wife Rachel and sons Richard and Charles. In 2001, miindful of growing interest in local food and desire to reduce food miles, he converted farm buildings into Plumgarths Farm Shop & Lakelands Food Park and has since added cutting plant that together provides top quality processing and retail facilities for numerous local producers.

Since the opening of the farm shop and food park, Plumgarths have entered into an arrangement to supply 18 regional Asda outlets including his local store in Kendal with locally sourced products as part of the Asda Local Food Sourcing Initiative. He also supplies the catering, institutional and schools sectors in the Lake District and surrounding area.

Geldard received his farming award at the third annual Farmers' Weekly Awards for his creation Plumgarths Hub, which links together small specialist food producers and provides them with access to major supermarkets.

Geldard saif: "I am delighted to be elected as chair of AIMS and look forward to representing the medium and small abattoir and processing sector in the challenging but exciting times that lay ahead."

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