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Oxfordshire-based contractor Charles Baker has been elected chairman of the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) and says he aims to seal financial support for contracting operations during his tenure.

“We must stand together, united as professionals, and be financially supported through changing agricultural policy,” says Mr Baker, whose Oxfordshire-based company won the coveted Farmers Weekly Contractor of the Year Award in 2009.

“Contractors should feel confident to invest and take brave, well-thought-out decisions to support the farming industry, bringing forward new technology and machinery, alongside skilled and trained staff.”

See also: NAAC farm contractor charges 2017-18

Mr Baker takes over from the previous chairman, Derbyshire contractor Martin Hays.

“In my term, my aim is to significantly increase NAAC membership, as the best way to represent our sector is to have a strong and powerful voice,” said Mr Baker.

“Inclusion in the political arena, particularly at this crucial point in agricultural history, is so important and I cannot emphasise enough to other contractors the importance of getting involved and pushing our sector in front of politicians and the government.

“We are a professional and vital part of the agricultural industry – with an estimated 91% of farmers using our services – and it is crucial that we can be formally recognised as ‘farmers without land’, having become an integral part of farm business management.”

He added: “I am looking forward to driving the association forward through this historical era in agriculture and, with the support of the NAAC team, I am passionate about putting the NAAC and contractors firmly on the political agenda.”