Michael Priestley, Cracrop Farm, Kirkcambeck, Brampton, Cumbria has been announced as the Honorary President of the British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS) following the Society’s 41st AGM held on Friday 22nd June 2012 at the Royal Highland Showground. Mr Priestley, who becomes the 11th President of the BLCS since its inception in 1971, will serve the customary two year term of office and takes over the position from Sam Coleman, Glarryford, Ballymena, N Ireland.
Speaking at the AGM, Mr Priestley said: “Being elected as the President of the UK’s most numerical cattle breed is a true honour. Limousins continue to go from strength to strength enjoying record sales as well as new membership and registration highs year-on-year. As a Society we’re continually taking aim at breed promotion and technical improvement and I will do whatever I can to help keep this momentum going.”
Born in 1937, Michael grew up at Brow Top Farm, Clayton, Bradford which his father, Rowland, farmed alongside the nearby Hill Top Farm, home to the Brontemoor Herd of Pedigree Limousin cattle which was established 25 years ago. Their first Limousin bull (purchased from the Scorboro Herd of Jim Bloom) was used on dairy cows with the Priestleys milking around 80 cows until 13 years ago. Since Michael’s father was also a butcher, he liked the type of Limousin-cross beast that was produced for his butcher’s shop. Over the years, some pedigree females joined the mix and gradually the suckler herd changed over to Limousin. The all-beef operation currently numbers 100 purebred cows which run alongside 50 Limousin-cross females. Adds Michael: “We keep Limousins quite simply for one reason: because they earn us a living; they are a consistent, all-round animal saleable at any age or type, whatever the type of farm, both commercially and pedigree.”
In December 2011, the Priestley Family “upped sticks” to cross over the Pennines to Cumbria when Cracrop Farm became available due to the retirement of Messrs DT & M Stobart. The 430 acre farm was purchased following the Cracrop Dispersal Sale and the Brontemoor Herd moved there lock, stock and barrel. Getting all the stock into one ring-fenced location was the ambition of a lifetime fulfilled, and Cracrop is now farmed by three generations of the Priestley Family – grandfather Michael; son and daughter-in-law Steven & Ruth; and grandchildren Sarah & Richard. “When we moved, we transported 382 animals including followers by wagon. There was no way they were leaving granddad behind!” jokes Michael.
Mr Priestley Senior’s first duty as President will be to represent the BLCS as part of a twenty-four-strong group of British breeders heading to the International Limousin Congress in Denmark which takes place from 2nd to 9th July where he will be accompanied by his friend and partner Mrs Eileen Illingworth.