27 January 2000
BEN GILL, who farms in Yorkshire, was elected NFU president in 1998. He had been deputy president since 1992 following a year as union vice president.
Mr Gill has farmed at Hawkhills near Easingwold, North Yorkshire, for the last 20 years. He took over the 360-acre mixed farm in 1978.
The farm runs 240 ewes with their lambs and buys in store lambs and cattle for finishing during the year. It produces wheat, barley and sugar beet.
Mr Gill has figured in the wider arena of British agriculture as well. In August 1991 he was appointed to the Agriculture and Food Research Council.
Then from 1994 until March 1997 he was on the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council where he chaired the Agricultural Systems Directorate.
In Europe, Mr Gill has represented the NFU, making visits to the EU Parliament as well as sitting on various COPA working parties and advisory committees.
Born in 1950, Mr Gill studied agriculture at Cambridge and then spent three years in Uganda teaching farming at a large secondary school.
While he was there he set up a working school farm producing milk, bananas, sweet potatoes, cotton and maize.
His interest in African agriculture has endured and he was on the board of the Farm Africa charity from 1991 until February 1998.
He became patron of FOAG a Worcestershire based farmers support group funding improvement work in Uganda in 1999.
When Ben first returned to Britain, he ran a 200 sow commercial pig herd in Humberside before returning home to his family farm.
Mr Gill is a past governor of his village school, and has encouraged children to visit his farm to learn first-hand about the crops, lambing and other farm practices.
In June 1996 he received a CBE for his services to agriculture. Leeds University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in September 1997.