Leaders needed to shape the future

People with a passion for agriculture are being urged to step forward and make a difference by applying for a role on the AHDB Board.

The new Board Members will have oversight of the strategic direction for the whole organisation, as well as one with the additional responsibility to be Chair of its Potato Sector Board and the other with the additional responsibility to be Chair of its Pork Sector Board.

Candidates will need to understand the complex pork or potato market dynamics and be able to lead those sector boards with passion, vision and strategic oversight.

Departing Board Member and AHDB Potatoes Chair Fiona Fell is encouraging those from all agriculture-related backgrounds and fields to think about applying for the posts, even if it is something they have not previously considered.

Fiona served as an independent member on the AHDB Potatoes Sector Board from 2008 before stepping up to Chair in 2014, when she was appointed to the main AHDB Board.

A qualified vet with a background in livestock research, she considered herself an unusual candidate for a leading role in shaping the future of the potatoes sector. Yet her firm belief in the importance of gaining and sharing knowledge and ensuring value for levy payers, means she has overseen a number of high-profile achievements during her tenure.

Fiona said: “We all share a passion for our farming and growing industries and a desire to see levy funds used to create maximum benefit. But the Board’s ability to make the most of AHDB’s enormous potential hinges on the enthusiasm and dedication of those who step forward and make a difference.”

Some of the innovative work invested in by AHDB includes the “pioneering” SPot (Strategic Potato) Farms, which put proven levy-funded research ideas into a commercial crop, on farm, allowing the scientist and host grower to work together to further fine-tune the knowledge and future research ideas. The three farms have seen more than 500 visitors, 2600 video views and 12,800 blog reads.

Communications and knowledge exchange have also been boosted by an AHDB-wide change programme implemented in 2016, which saw the formation of communications teams and expertise brought in house.

Fiona said: “Our improved in-house digital capability also means we can produce content without the associated of costs of outside agencies – for example, this year we live streamed our Agronomists Conference, meaning to date we have reached an additional 780 people to the 160 or so in the room.”

Fiona has overseen the coming together of the six sector levy boards and worked closely with other sector Chairs as an AHDB Board Member.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with fellow AHDB Board members to discuss and tease out the challenges and collaborative opportunities across all the six sectors of potatoes, pork, dairy, horticulture, beef & lamb, and cereals & oilseeds. We have developed a unified but specialist delivery that is better value and higher quality from sharing expertise,” said Fiona.

Board members will be working together to deliver AHDB’s new strategy, shaped by its new vision of “A world-class food and farming industry that is inspired by and competing with the best”.

Fiona added: “It couldn’t be a more important time to lead. To pursue new opportunities and to help mobilise all the resources of AHDB to underpin the future success of our sectors. I would recommend anyone with a passion for agriculture to apply for these posts and I hope they find the experience as worthwhile and rewarding as I have.”

Closing date for applications is 8 February. To request an application pack or for more information contact Christine.standley@ahdb.org.uk

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