FARM Crisis Network (FCN) has appointed Charles Smith as its new chief executive.
He takes over from the Rev Sarah Brown.
FCN provides practical and pastoral support to farmers and to farming families in times of stress and difficulties through its network of more than 300 volunteers throughout much of England and Wales.
Over the last couple of years, FCN has expanded and developed its coverage to meet the increasing number of calls for help and support which has resulted from the financial difficulties facing farmers and, tragically, the incidence of bovine tuberculosis among beef and dairy cattle.
Mr Smith, who has until recently been managing director of the Challenger brand for AGCO, the global manufacturer of agricultural equipment, said he is looking forward to taking up his new role.
“I am very pleased to be joining such a strong team, dedicated to helping our farming friends through difficult times,” he said.
FCN’s commitment to the provision of care and support to the farming community in times of need is impressive but can only continue thanks to the significant support provided by our volunteers and donations offered by our supporters.
“Under Sarah’s leadership, FCN has evolved into a very effective organisation, both in the service delivery and in FCN’s influence on policy makers.
“I will be striving to continue that good work in an effort to further alleviate the suffering and distress faced by many in our farming community.”
Sarah, who is taking up full time ministry with the Church of England as team vicar in Daventry, said: “The care and commitment shown by FCN’s volunteers has been an example and an inspiration to me and I am very proud to have worked with such wonderful people over the last three years. I know that Charles will continue to ensure that, in times of difficulty, the farmers in Britain will have available to them the support and help that they need.”
FCN chairman George Dunn said: “Sarah has done a great job for Farm Crisis Network within very difficult circumstances and although I will be extremely sad to lose her it is right that she follows her calling into full-time ministry with the Church of England.
“I am delighted that in Charles Smith we have secured a strong replacement for Sarah and I very much look forward to working closely with Charles.”
FCN operates a national telephone Helpline – 0845 3679990 – which is available from 7am until 11pm every day of the year.