After five years as Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHECS) Chair, Welsh dairy farmer Abi Reader is standing down from the role due to other commitments. The CHECS Board would like to thank Ms Reader for her dedication and time whilst in the role and are delighted that she will continue to be a member of the CHECS Board. Stuart Roberts has been appointed the new Chair of CHECS, the technical organisation that sets the specifications for health schemes involved in the control or eradication of endemic cattle disease in the UK.
CHECS, which bases its standards on farm biosecurity measures, herd vet declarations, and quality control for health scheme laboratories, was established in 1999 and is ‘owned’ by the UK cattle industry.
Mr Roberts runs a mixed organic family farm in Hertfordshire, specialising in cereals, beef and sheep. In addition to his farming interests, he has held a range of commercial roles within the livestock industry, some wide-ranging roles in the Civil Service and was Deputy and vice President of the NFU for four years.
He says: “I relish the challenges and opportunities that are presented in the CHECS Strategy report and recommendations and looks forward to pushing forward with implementing them with the CHECS Board.
“The UK Livestock Industry prides itself on our high standards of animal health and welfare and indeed our animal health status is key to how we are seen by both customers and competitors here in the UK and around the world. It is vital we have the evidence to prove our health status and can demonstrate continuous improvement,” he explains. “This for me is at the heart of the role that needs to be filled by CHECS and its Chair.”
As well as his new role as Chair of CHECS, Stuart holds a number of other roles within the food, farming and rural sector. He is a graduate of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, is a Nuffield Scholar, a graduate of the Institute of Meat, and has chaired the Green Finance Institute Farming and Finance Working Group.