Bill Cowling

Born in Leeds, Bill’s family business began as a fruit and vegetable merchants in Leeds. Bill’s father bought a farm in Scarcroft near Leeds in 1955 and Bill bought his small farm in Burn Bridge, Harrogate in 1972. At present, the family business specialising in beef, sheep and arable has increased to three farms in family partnership with his two sons, totalling 600 acres. Bill and his wife Caroline also have a daughter, and two granddaughters.

Extensive experience of membership and chairing committees and organisations concerned with agriculture and farming, including the BBC Regional Audience Council of Yorkshire, the National Trust Regional Committee, the Weeton Show, and the Yorkshire Friesian Breeders, President of the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild, as well as long standing Chairman and Director of the Otley Cattle Market Auction Ltd.

Throughout his farming career, Bill has always been involved in and committed to Countryside Environmental Schemes and High Level Stewardship.

Within the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Bill has been Honorary Show Director for the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live since 2005, an Assistant Cattle Steward since 1978, the Chief Cattle Steward 1995-2004, a member of the Cattle Committee since 1982, as well as a Council member (North Yorkshire) since 1989, a member of the Executive Committee since 1990, Chairman of Grants and Education Committee from 1991 to 2006, member of the Showground Committee since 2000, and member of the Yorkshire Event Centre since 2000. Recently appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire by the Lord-Lieutenant, Lord Crathorne during the Great Yorkshire Show in July 2014.

As Honorary Show Director for the Great Yorkshire Show, Bill attends and speaks at many meetings over the course of the year, discussing the work of the YAS including YEC, Pavilions of Harrogate, Fodder and the Show.

Bill’s keen understanding, interest and longstanding expertise of the countryside and farming enables him to bring a practical and commercial perspective to the newly formed Advisory Group. He looks forward to working with the AG to maintain the important link between farming and research.

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James CooperRichard Findlay