News | Stalham Farmers' Club | Leading speakers from the agricultural industry.

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Nigel Wright - RIP.
One of the longest serving officers of the club, vice-president and former secretary Nigel Wright has died peacefully at home just days before his 84th birthday. He was secretary between 1962 and 1985 and farmed at Church Farm, Stalham. He was the club's vice-president and typically modest, declined on several occasions to be elected president. Our condolences to his family.

A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, January 26 at Ingham church, 11am. For a full obituary, see Past club Members on the left.
Entry added: 13 Jan 2022
January meeting postponed - A delayed start to the 2022 programme. Apologies for the short notice but it seems sensible to postpone the first meeting of the year given the rise in Covid-19 cases across the east of England.
We had hoped to welcome 14 members of North Walsham Young Farmers' Club to the meeting at Scottow on Wednesday, January 12. In addition, a good contingent of Stalham members would have got the year off to a cracking start.
We hope to meet on Wednesday, February 9. A decision will be taken towards the end of this month about arrangements but hopefully, the meting will be able to take place.
The chairman, Chris Borrett, and vice-chairman, Will Sands, have also agreed to this sensible precaution. Further, Holt & District Farmers' Club has also postponed its meeting next Tuesday, January 11.
Entry added: 07 Jan 2022
A Happy New Year 2022 to all our members.

At our first meeting on Wednesday, January 12, we welcome members of North Walsham Young Farmers' Club as guests to super. Please support our chairman, Chris Borrett, at the supper at North Walsham Rugby Club (Scottow) on Wednesday, January 12 - and please let the secretary know as soon as possible if you'd like to join the meal.
I need numbers by close of play, Wednesday, January 5, please. Supper costs £10 and will be served about 6.30pm. So, a speedy response would also help our caterers too.

Given the challenges facing the pig industry, our menu choice is surely appropriate - roast pork, roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables followed by apple and cherry crumble and custard.

Our speaker Tom Harrison will be speaking about farming in New Zealand and returning to head the family's long-established potato enterprise at Trimingham.
The meeting starts at 7.30pm. All are welcome, so bring a friend or neighbour.

On other matters
1 Final and absolute last call for grain samples. If they've been sitting in your office, please bring them or let Chris Borrett know that you'd like to enter.
2 On behalf of the club, a sincere thanks to a good member Sarah Bebb, who left British Sugar on December 31 after more than nine years. She was a greater supporter of the club's sugar beet competitions and especially the two-acre. Good luck with your new career in plant breeding.
3 A warm welcome to new members, Ben Place and Sam Summers.
Entry added: 04 Jan 2022
The latest club report of the meeting with Cathie Martin on the 8th December 2021 is now in the minutes and reports section on the left
Entry added: 09 Dec 2021
Join the chairman for supper on Wednesday, December 8th at 6.30pm.
The speaker, Prof Cathie Martin, is one of the world's leading scientists researching how plants can help to improve human health and diet.
Supper: 6.30pm - a two course meal - costs £10 per head at North Walsham Rugby Club.
If you'd like to join the chairman, please let the secretary know by close of play on Wednesday, December 1.
The meeting: Starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday, December 8.
Email: - or telephone 01603 486997
Entry added: 30 Nov 2021
A warm welcome to 2021’s final meeting
Wednesday, December 8, 7.30pm – North Walsham Rugby Club.
Come for a diet of supper and healthy science – all on a plate!
Food, health and plant genetics
Our next speaker, Prof Cathie Martin, is an award-winning scientist with an international reputation.
She is only the fourth scientist in 40 years at the John Innes Centre to win the Rank Prize for her efforts to make fruit and vegetables more nutritious.
Her talk, Growing plants for a healthy, better diet, couldn’t be more topical.
She has co-ordinated research into crops to improve diets including the health-giving purple tomato – about to be launched in Japan.
This is probably one of the most exciting areas of practical research, which opens up real opportunities for farmers and growers in the next decades.
Join the chairman, Chris Borrett, for supper beforehand.
To book supper, £10 per head for two courses, it must be booked in advance by 5pm, Wednesday, December 1.
The meal – Steak & kidney pie, roast potatoes, vegetables followed by Christmas pudding.
Telephone the secretary, Michael Pollitt on 01603 486997 or email –
North Walsham Rugby Club - NR10 5BU – will welcome members from 6pm, supper at 6.30pm – and the meeting at 7.30pm.
Entry added: 23 Nov 2021
Meeting held at North Walsham Rugby Club, Scottow, on Wednesday, November 10, jointly with the East Norfolk branch of the National Farmers’ Union.
The meeting was jointly chaired by Chris Borrett, of Stalham Farmers’ Club, and Peter Gardiner, of the East Norfolk branch. A total of 34 members were in attendance and a total of 16 members and guests enjoyed a two-course supper of cottage pie and apple crumble.
By invitation, Michael Sly, chairman NFU Sugar Board, Simon Smith, vice-chairman, and Arthur Marshall, of NFU Sugar.
Mr Borrett, who was wielding the chairman’s gavel for the first time in 19 months, welcomed club members and also NFU members too.
He recalled that the last gathering had been the club’s annual meeting in February 2020.
Members were also asked to remember the club’s former officers and members in a minute’s silence including Hugh Crane (life vice-president), Cyril Adams, Rob den Englese, secretary 1985 to 1987, and Greg Anderson.
Apologies – Jason Cantrill, John Greer, Graham Duncanson, Rob Norman, Matthew Adams, James Chapman. Michael Eales, Jim Holt and Andrew Claydon.
New members – The following were welcomed, Emily Norton, Philip Norton, Alex Winchester. William Sands, vice-chairman, proposed Sam Summers, who was duly elected.
Secretary’s report – Michael Pollitt said that two club’s 2021 competitions had been judged – potatoes and whole crop sugar beet. The 2-acre competition would be judged soon. He urged members to bring grain samples for the wheat and barley cup to the next meeting on December 8 at the very latest. Otherwise samples could be left at Neal Sands’ Brunstead works.
He also reported that the engraving of trophies should be completed shortly. There was now only one engraver in Norwich – two others had give up or retired – which had delayed progress.
Mr Borrett then introduced the evening’s trio of guest speakers including Michael Sly, chairman of the NFU Sugar Board, his vice-chairman and fellow Cambridgeshire farmer Simon Smith, and Arthur Marshall, analyst with NFU Sugar. James Northam, of NFU Sugar, was unable to attend because he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Mr Sly briefed members on the background to the latest negotiations with British Sugar. He reminded growers that the last campaign had been extremely difficulty, lengthy and costly. In addition, substantial yield losses caused by virus yellows and other diseases had cost growers an estimated £43m. NFU Sugar, which represents all 2,500 growers, decided to start negotiations much earlier than usual and started the process with British Sugar in March. In a diplomatic summary, Mr Sly said that the process had not been especially smooth but eventually a deal had been achieved.
He said that a pilot variable price contract, linked to sugar futures, could offer the opportunity for growers to lock-in returns. Mr Sly said that it could become a more signficant tool in future. However, he said that the pilot contract had involved a fraction of the national 7.5m tonne beet crop. In total, 67 growers had contracted just 37,100 tonnes but it was another potential tool.
Mr Sly said that beet growers (and processor) were now operating in a completely de-regulated market. He stressed too that the home-grown industry needed to retain scale to supply a large domestic market of around 1.9m tonnes of sugar – with roughly 55pc of the country’s sugar grown by England’s farmers. There was a major opportunity to supply this market and he urged British Sugar to recognise the need to support growers. He said that a meeting in June with ABF’s chief executive George Weston had been positive, who had emphasised his long-term vision for a successful home-grown sugar industry.
In lengthy discussions, a number of members highlighted a range of issues in a genuinely lively, constructive fashion.
Mr Smith said that the NFU had spent three hours the previous day discussing the urgent need to recognise the impact of soaring costs for haulage and contractors with senior British Sugar executives.
Mr Gardiner thanked the speakers, who were presented with a Stalham Farmers’ Club tie. The meting closed at 9.25pm.
Entry added: 11 Nov 2021
What a record - 90-year-old Ken strides out
Stalham stalwart Ken Leggett has completed his 50th Park Run - at the age of 90. The former county secretary to Norfolk National Farmers' Union, who was club chairman in 2000, was the driving force to secure Catton Park for the community. Mr Leggett, of Colkett Drive, Old Catton, who lives just a stone's throw from the historic park - the first to be paid out by Humphry Repton - secured almost £1m of funding to regenerate the historic park in 2005.
He completed his golden jubilee "run" and the 5k circuit last Saturday in one hour seven minutes and 28 seconds. The link to the EDP story is here:
Entry added: 30 Sep 2021
November date for opening meeting -
A warm welcome to members and the first meeting of Stalham Farmers’ Club’s autumn programme.
Make a note in your diary – Wednesday, November 10, 7.30pm – at a new location, North Walsham Rugby Club.
This will be a joint meeting with the East Norfolk branch of the National Farmers’ Union. Our chairman, Chris Borrett, and Peter Gardiner, of the NFU, will welcome the team of guest speakers – fenland farmer Michael Sly, chairman of NFU Sugar, and James Northern, head of NFU Sugar and Arthur Marshall, NFU Sugar analyst.
It is planned to arrange a meal beforehand – watch this space.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, December 8 – speakers being confirmed.
While it is planned to return to Vera’s at A G Meale’s, it was felt initially that a larger, roomier venue might be more sensible given the on-going concerns regarding Covid-19.
The rest of the autumn programme is being planned including, hopefully, the annual dinner in March..
Please keep any grain samples for the wheat and barley competitions.
Details, Michael Pollitt – 01603 486997 or email
Entry added: 29 Sep 2021
Former club secretary and leading farm manager Rob den Engelse

One of Norfolk's largest farming businesses was run by Rob den Engelse, who died aged 86 at his Wroxham home, on August 31. He was general manager of East Anglian Real Property, which farmed more than 10,000 acres across the county - incidentally following in his father's footsteps. When he left the Cantley-based EARP in 1978, he then held a succession of senior farm management posts. A keen sailor, he decided at the age of 60 to qualify as a Royal Yachting Association instructor and bought a 1935 Ernest Woods river cruiser, Will o' the Wisp to sail on the Broads. He leaves a widow Ann, two children and four grandchildren. Our thoughts are with his family. Full obituary - see the Past Club Members Tab on the left.
Entry added: 23 Sep 2021
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