Anthony Gibson retired from the NFU in May 2008 at the age of 59, after a career spanning 36 years, mostly spent in the South West, with a strong emphasis on communications. He was NFU South West Regional Director for 14 eventful years from 1992 to 2006, before a final two years as Director of Communications. He is probably best known for the championing role that he played in the two great farming crises of recent years, BSE and the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak.
In his time with the NFU, he played a key role in developing the potential of the local food market with Taste of the West and West Country Cooking and was the driving force behind a number of successful regional initiatives, including the South West Chamber of Rural Enterprise (SW CoRE) and the Rural Enterprise Gateway. His experience of upland farming issues dates back to the Porchester Inquiry into the ploughing of heather moorland on Exmoor in the late 1970s, and includes negotiating ESA agreements covering most of the Dartmoor Commons.
He is an accomplished broadcaster and journalist, on cricket as well as farming, and continues to write a weekly column for the Western Morning News. He has three grown up children and lives with his second wife, Claire, at Langport in Somerset.
Although he has retired from the NFU, he is still very active in rural and community issues, and is the Chairman of the Somerset Water Management Partnership, a Director of Farms for City Children, a Director of the Royal Bath and West, and an adviser to the Devon County Show. During the summer he commentates regularly on Somerset cricket for BBC Radio Somerset. He has published three books: A Celtic Odyssey, which describes a camper van trip down the Celtic coast of Europe in 2008; Of Didcot and the Demon, a selection of his father, Alan Gibson’s, writings on cricket, which was awarded Cricket Book of the Year 2010 by the MCC and the Cricket Society; and With Magic in my Eyes, which explores the relationship between West Country writers about the countryside, and the landscapes that inspired them.
Educated at Monkton Combe School and the Queen’s College, Oxford, he has honorary degrees from the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society, a former President of the Devonshire Association and was appointed OBE in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours.