THE Farm Retail Association (FRA) has announced its appointment of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society - a charity which supports farmers throughout the Dales - as its new management team.

The society’s appointment by the national body, which represents farm shops, farmers’ markets and pick-your-own enterprises across the country, is part of the FRA’s long- term strategy, described by chairman Rob Copley as “bold and forward thinking.”

Mr Copley said: “After a competitive tender in London, we are delighted to announce the Yorkshire Agricultural Society will be taking over as Managing Agents for the Farm Retail Association.

“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.”

Heather Parry, Deputy Chief Executive of the YAS, which runs its own successful farm shop and café, Fodder, as well as the Great Yorkshire Show, said they were really looking forward to getting started.

“The FRA embodies everything the YAS stands for - high quality, high welfare, sustainable and tasty, local produce.

“Farm shops, farmers’ markets and pick-your-own enterprises are at the heart of this and we are really excited to be working together with the FRA and its members to create a strong cohesive voice for the industry. 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 is open to thousands of independent retailers across the country and offers its members support, training, workshops and open days.

Mr Copley added: “All our members are passionate about what they do and what they produce.

“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 be raising FRA’s profile and letting everyone know about the great work our members are doing.”

The YAS started its contract this week and Heather said the Farm Retail Association has never been more important or more relevant.

“We are excited to maximise the positive impact the FRA has.

“Food retailing is changing and consumer’s concerns about sustainability are increasing. Local food retailers are at the forefront of this food revolution.”

l The FRA was formerly FARMA and will be celebrating its 40th birthday in November. Around 300 UK farm shops and farmers’ markets are members.