A 200 year old business serving the farming community across South Cumbria, North Lancashire and the Yorkshire Dales is expanding its farm advisory service with the appointment of a new Head of Farm Advisory.

Caroline Raine is tasked in leading and developing North West Auctions Professional (NWAP) farm advisory offering, set up in 2006 by Rodney Coward who is still with the team.

Caroline joins the firm, part of the L & K Group, at a critical time. She says farmers face some of their biggest challenges yet - from the impact of climate change and weather conditions on cropping to Covid and supply chains plus the rewriting of farm support post Brexit. As she explains: “Farmers are resilient, and I am sure many won’t underestimate what all this change means for them. We’re here to assist by providing business help and guidance through the agricultural transition period and beyond.

Caroline has been in role for less than three months and says one of the most positive things about the job is being able to get straight into helping farmers. “I started as we got the news that we were one of 19 organisations receiving a grant from Defra’s Future Farming Resilience Fund so we can give free support and advice to farm businesses,” she explains. “We are now actively recruiting 60 farms to work with between now and February 2022 and looking for a real range from large to small, upland and lowland, the only prerequisite is that they currently receive Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). We will help farmers to understand the changes that are happening and help them to adapt their business model as income from BPS disappears by 2027. We will also help them with what do and by when and they’ll have access to tailored support including 1-2-1 business advice,” says Caroline.

The other aspect of the job that impressed Caroline was to be part of the wider trusted and well-respected North West Auctions team. They deliver a range of services and professional advice to farmers, businesses and individuals. “We have auction marts at Lancaster and J36 Rural Auction Centre near Crooklands, valuing and selling pedigree livestock and farm machinery and it’s great to meet farmers on lively market days. We’re also rural property and land specialists, offering planning and architectural services.”

The mum of two brings invaluable farming experience to her new role: “I grew up on a dairy farm in Cartmel and showed calves as a child. I went on to graduate from Newcastle University in 2005 with a degree in Agriculture with Farm Business Management. I then worked in an estate agency for 12 months before starting at NFU Mutual in Broughton in Furness as an Agent/Group Secretary. I am married to a beef and sheep farmer, who works with his parents on the family farm, and we live near Penrith. I continued to show my own dairy cattle until a couple of years ago, competing at national level. My last job was as an NFU Group Secretary for Appleby. I loved the interaction with farm businesses and families and the feeling of being part of the community. NWA/NWA Professional with is a business that’s always been at the heart of the local farming community.”