THE managing director of a major Carlisle agricultural supply firm is to step down from his post.

After 28 years of service, Rae Tomlinson, the boss of Carrs Billington Agriculture (Sales) Ltd, has announced that he will retire from the business in January.

Mr Tomlinson spent 18 years as financial director before taking on his current post in 2010.

Mr Tomlinson said: “My time with Carrs Billington has been hugely rewarding and challenging.

“I have had the good fortune to head an excellent management team and have enjoyed the support of our key shareholders, Carr’s Group and Edward Billington & Son Ltd, with the significant developments that have benefitted the business over the past two decades.

“The agricultural and rural community has some clear challenges in its immediate future, notably Brexit. I am, however, convinced that British agriculture will continue to thrive.

“I would to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues for their hard work, endeavour and commitment during my tenure.”

His successor will be Dr Mark Cole, who took over the day-to-day management of the business earlier this month.

Dr Cole joins Carrs Billington Agricultural (Sales) Ltd from ForFarmers where he held senior roles in Poland and the Netherlands.

Before this, he was a general manager within the Provimi group of companies, where his responsibilities included running the UK-based operations for many years, as well as businesses in south-eastern Europe.

Dr Cole said: “I would like to thank Rae for his commitment to Carrs Billington Agriculture over the last 28 years, and for leaving a sound and stable business.

“I look forward to continuing his efforts into the future.”

Carrs Billington Agriculture (Sales) Ltd is a joint venture with shareholding by Carr’s Group plc and Edward Billington & Son Ltd.

The company manufactures feed at three mills, along with a number of feed blending plants.

The portfolio is supported by a strong country store network across 33 locations including Rosehill at Carlisle, Wigton, Longtown, Penrith, Appleby, Annan and the J36 Rural Auction Centre. These provide animal health and animal husbandry products, fencing and metalwork, feed, clothing and fuel to farmers and the wider rural community.

Within this network, Carrs Billington Agriculture also holds significant machinery franchises from market-leading manufacturers such as Massey Ferguson and Fendt.