MARISTOW-born the Honorable George Lopes has been elected President of the Devon County Agricultural Association.

Mr Lopes, 67, is best known as an estate owner and for his work for rural organisations like the Country Landowners Association, but said his first loves were commercial farming and forestry.

'I'm thrilled and honoured to have been asked to take on this role, because the work of the DCAA in developing and promoting farming and forestry is so close to my own heart,' he said.

'Forestry owners desperately need some clear guidance on how to protect their woodlands and what to plant to replace the trees that will inevitably be lost.  The future of Devon's woodlands is at stake, yet several of the organisations which are supposed to be looking after them seem to be interested only in promoting public access to scrub woodland.

'If the authorities want just Douglas fir in future, then so be it.  But Devon is going to look very different and it won't be a pretty sight.'

However, Mr Lopes is more confident about prospects for farming, and believes that the recent upturn in the industry has been mirrored in the agricultural content of the Devon County Show.

 'Devon is first and foremost a farming county, and the DCAA and its flagship County Show have an absolutely vital role to play in developing the industry on the one hand, and showing it off to the general public on the other, not least through the promotion of local food and drink, which I believe the Devon County Show does better than almost any other show.'

Mr Lopes was born on the family estate at Maristow. 

He started farming on his own account in North Wiltshire in 1968, and worked in estate management for the agents, Cluttons.

He married Sarah Astor in 1975 who shares his love of farming and countryside.