Suffolk’s bishops hear about life on the farm

Bishop Martin Seeley and Bishop Mike Harrison in a sugar beet field with farmer George Gittus, former county chairman of the NFU, at Symonds Farm, Risby ANL-160617-150648001
Bishop Martin Seeley and Bishop Mike Harrison in a sugar beet field with farmer George Gittus, former county chairman of the NFU, at Symonds Farm, Risby ANL-160617-150648001
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Suffolk’s two bishops have spent today finding out about life on the modern farm and learning about rural issues.

The Bishop of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury the Rt Rev Martin Seeley and his deputy, the Bishop of Dunwich, the Rt Rev Mike Harrison have been spending the day with farmers from across the county at Symonds Farm, Risby.

Farmer George Gittus, former county chairman of the NFU explains the anaerobic digestion process to Bishop Martin Seeley, right, and Bishop Mike Harrison ANL-160617-150700001

Farmer George Gittus, former county chairman of the NFU explains the anaerobic digestion process to Bishop Martin Seeley, right, and Bishop Mike Harrison ANL-160617-150700001

This morning, Symonds Farm’s owner George Gittus, former county chairman of the NFU whose family have farmed in west Suffolk for 150 years, showed them round.

They saw the four main parts of the business: arable, livestock with outdoor free-range pigs and indoor straw-based systems, a business park close to the A14 and renewable energy in the form of anaerobic digestion to generate electricity.

During the afternoon they met several more farmers.

There was Andrew Blenkiron, estate director of the 6,260 acre Euston Estate with a wide range of crops and livestock enterprises, as well as being a significant sporting estate.

Chris Reeke is a sheep farmer but better known as joint owner of the award winning La Hogue farm shop at Chippenham near Newmarket.

Sally Bendall of Hollow Trees Farm, Semer, who has won awards for diversification and working with education, wildlife and conservation groups and is chairwoman of Easton and Otley College’s governors.

Jimmy Butler of Blythburgh Free Range Pork, is a leading outdoor pig producer and member of the National Pig Association’s producer committee.

Colin Clifton-Brown, the current Suffolk NFU chairman, is a former land agent now running his family’s farm of 1,800 acres of arable, whoich has diversified into horse livery and a wedding and function venue.

Finelly, they met George Frost the Methodist agricultural chaplain for East Anglia.