CHRISTOPHER PRICE has been announced as the new chief executive of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

The RBST is the sole national organisation that monitors, saves and promotes all the UK’s native breeds of livestock. Mr Price assumes his new role early February next year, after working as director of policy and advice at the CLA.

RBST president Jimmy Doherty said: “I am delighted to announce Christopher’s appointment – this is a crucial appointment at a crucial time. Christopher will be leading the Trust to make it fit to face the challenges of farming and conservation in the 21st century and we look forward to working with him."

The RBST was formed in 1973, a year which also the advent of the Common Agricultural Policy – a policy that RBST believes has not served the UK's native breeds well. The Trust now sees the new UK-only Agriculture Bill provides an opportunity to change that.

RBST chairman of trustees, Gail Sprake, said: “We have undertaken a rigorous process to make this appointment which is of vital importance as we develop the next phase in the life of RBST. As a longstanding advocate for rural interests, and a longstanding member of RBST, Christopher has a strong track record of successful partnership building with stakeholders within the farming, countryside and environment sectors.

“RBST was founded to preserve and promote our native breeds of livestock for agriculture and support research. To achieve this we must further develop the use of these breeds in UK farming. Around two thirds of the UK’s breeding sheep are pure-bred native breeds or first-generation crosses of these native breeds. For beef cattle it is estimated that around half depend on native breed genetics.”

CEO of the National Sheep Association, Phil Stocker, added: “On behalf of the NSA I’d very much like to welcome Christopher into his new role and we look forward to building further on the work our two organisations do together to strengthen the part that our native sheep breeds play in our industry and to protect some of our most endangered genetics. With the future of food, farming and agriculture being at such a crossroads there couldn’t be a more important time for someone with Christopher’s experience to take the reins at the RBST."