9 May 1997

RASE shake-up to raise profile

TOP jobs at Royal Agricultural Society of England are set for a shake-up in a bid to broaden the societys role and raise its profile.

RASE chief executive Charles Runge said the society needed to enlarge and stimulate its membership to be "a major force for new thinking in rural England".

Dr Mike Ducker, who will become director of agriculture under the reorganisation, said RASE planned to develop a range of communication initiatives which would put it at the heart of key debates on food, farming and countryside issues. But he dismissed any suggestion that the society planned to rival farm unions as a political lobbying force.

"One thing which will not change is RASEs reputation as an independent and authoritative organisation which is not seen to be political lobby for farmers and landowners.

"RASE is not a pressure group. It is a society of like minded people who have views about the development and sustainability of the countryside."

The management change, under which David Storrar becomes director of exhibitions responsible for the Royal Show and technical events, will take place after this years Royal Show.n