UK Ministers appoint new main board members to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

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The Government has appointed five new main board members to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), including four levy payers with experience in each of the organisation’s main cropping sectors, agricultural law and environmental sustainability.

As part of a commitment to modernising the main board, the new appointees will help to broaden the organisation’s skills base. Cereals levy payers Sarah Bell and Stephen Briggs, Beef and Lamb levy payer Colin Bateman and Dairy levy payer Lyndon Edwards began their three-year terms on 13 September 2021.

The organisation will also benefit from added legal and environmental expertise respectively with the addition to the main board of Dr Catherine MacKenzie, a lawyer with a background in agriculture and digital development and Stephen Briggs’ agroforestry expertise. Dr MacKenzie’s three-year term also started on 13 September 2021.

These are Ministerial appointments, made jointly by Ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir said: “These new appointments reflect our ambition to build a modern, fresh governance structure that puts levy payers right at the heart of everything we do.

“This will enable AHDB to deliver an organisation for British farmers, growers and processors while acknowledging the challenges farming faces in the coming years.

“Along with the arrival of our new CEO Tim Rycroft on the 31 August, the focus on additional levy payers and skills-based appointments to our board, will help AHDB to reduce bureaucracy and deliver better value and outcomes for levy payers.”

The five new main board members will receive a non-pensionable remuneration of £11,808 per annum, based on a minimum time commitment of 36 days per year. Reasonable travel expenses are also paid.

These appointments are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, to ensure they are made on merit after fair and open competition. They are made in accordance with the Ministerial Governance Code on Public Appointments published by the Cabinet Office. More information about the role of the Commissioner and the Governance Code on Public Appointments can be found online.

There is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if significant) to be declared. All five appointees have declared that they have not taken part in any significant political activity in the past five years.

Biographies

Sarah Bell – Alongside working on her family mixed farm in Rutland, Sarah runs her own consultancy business S E Bell Agri Food Ltd, driving and delivering positive change in food supply chains. Sarah has worked closely with academia and business developing practical solutions incorporating data use, to demonstrate sustainable farming. Prior to consultancy Sarah worked for Openfield as Head of Supply Chain.

Colin Bateman – Colin is a commercial upland livestock producer, with more than 25 years’ experience in the beef and lamb sector following postgraduate studies at Durham University. He has been an AHDB Beef & Lamb sector board member since 2019. His farming business runs to 340Ha and has an on-farm glamping and experiential photo-tourism venture. Colin has a particular interest in cross sectoral integration to build future proof, resilient livestock systems.

Lyndon Edwards – Lyndon is an experienced organic dairy, beef and arable farmer with more than 40 years’ experience in the agricultural industry. He holds numerous industry roles and has a passion for sustainable agriculture and successfully developing various initiatives in order to ensure the successful future of the UK agriculture industry.

Dr Catherine MacKenzie – Catherine is a lawyer, with a strong background in digital transformation, environment and sustainability and audit/risk management. A Governing Master of the Inner Temple (Inn of Court for barristers) and member of the Bar in five jurisdictions, Catherine has worked with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and United Nations throughout Africa, Asia, Middle East and North America. As Chair of Audit & Risk Management of the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, Chair of Education of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy, and formerly Chair of the Board of Scrutiny of Cambridge University, Catherine has led major digital/IT projects and large international audits. With a family background in agriculture and forestry, Catherine lectures at Oxford University, directs studies in Land Economy at Magdalene College and Homerton College Cambridge, and is a Council Member of the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester.

Stephen Briggs – Stephen is farmer, farm shop retailer and lead consultant at AbacusAgri, providing farm business consultancy throughout the UK and internationally for over 20 years. He is head of Soil & Water at Innovation for Agriculture and has previously worked for DFID, FAO, the World Bank & private companies in Africa, India & China. He has an MSc in Soil Science with more than 25 years’ experience of developing and implementing effective Knowledge exchange – bringing together research, farmer engagement and training, consultancy, policy development work and practical farming. Stephen is also Nuffield Farming Scholar and was awarded the prestigious Bullock Award in 2020 as the scholar who has most influenced the agricultural industry in the ten years since his scholarship.

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