Agri-Tech East Stakeholder Group

Richard Anscombe, Agri-Tech East StakeholderRichard Anscombe

Chief Executive Officer, FramFarmers

FramFarmers is the UK’s leading farmer-owned cooperative for purchasing and grain marketing. It purchases more than £190m of products and services annually on behalf of more than 1,060 members who farm more than 275,000 hectares throughout the UK.

Richard is chief executive of FramFarmers and is based at Framlingham.

After studying at agricultural college, Richard began his career with Norsk Hydro Fertilisers before moving into the technology sector where he went on to co-found IT business Active Web Solutions.

Since joining what was then AtlasFram in 2010, he has developed a strategy to make FramFarmers the UK’s foremost farmer-owned purchasing and marketing co-operative.


John Barrett, SentryJohn Barrett

Director, Sentry Norfolk

John graduated from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1996 with a 2:1 degree in Farm Business Management. He then joined Sentry the following spring where he started as a Trainee Farm Manager on farms in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, before spending three years as Assistant Manager in Dorset.

He moved to Norfolk in 2001 to take on the management role at Ditchingham Farms having seen the Lions lose the series in Australia. The estate had decided to move away from in-house farming to contract farming and the transition proved a very successful one. This business has grown to 3,600 acres, and John manages nine farms with a team of four full time employees.

He is BASIS, BETA and FACTS qualified.

John heads up Sentry Marketing and was made a director of Sentry Ltd in October 2016.


Dr Tina Barsby, Agri-Tech East StakeholderDr Tina Barsby

Director and CEO, National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB)

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) is a pioneering plant science organisation based at the heart of the Cambridge science, technology and university communities.

It is internationally recognised as a centre of expertise for the pre-breeding, agronomy and evaluation of agricultural crops, and the Institute enjoys a reputation for independence, innovation and integrity.

Tina is a plant geneticist who is internationally recognised for her scientific achievements in plant biotechnology and applied crop science.

She believes that partnerships are essential to NIAB, and has created strong alliances not only with downstream commercial businesses but also with upstream research providers in public sector institutes, universities and Government departments.


Jonathan Clarke, JICDr Jonathan Clarke

Head of Business Development, John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology.

Dr Jonathan Clarke joined the John Innes Centre (JIC) in 1985 after completing his BSc. He studied for his PhD with Dr Caroline Dean at the John Innes Centre, identifying the genes underlying natural variation in flowering time and the vernalisation response in the model Crucifer Arabidopsis. In 1996 he returned to the John Innes Centre to continue his research and in 2002 he became the CSO of the JIC Genome Laboratory (JGL), now the Earlham Institute.

Jon was appointed to his current role as Head of Business Development for JIC in July 2009 with responsibility for JIC’s trading subsidiary, John Innes Enterprise Ltd. With the Government placing increasing emphasis on the economic and societal impact of scientific research, in 2010 Jon established the Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation activities for JIC. He plays an active role in developing innovation and spin-outs from JIC research and the interface between JIC science and industry.


Dr Andy Cureton, Angri-Tech East StakeholderDr Andy Cureton

Head of Business Interaction, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training and has three key priority areas: agriculture and food security, industrial biotechnology and bioenergy, and bioscience for health.

Andy is responsible for BBSRC Innovation Strategy for the Agri Food Sectors and for BBSRC’s engagement with the sector. He has been involved in the development of a number of key initiatives to support the UK agriculture sector and has led on increasing BBSRC support for industrially relevant research and knowledge exchange between academia and the agriculture industry.


Robert Dennis, agriVue profileRobert Dennis

Co-founder and CEO, agriVue

Robert is an arable farmer from Suffolk, farming 1,100 ha across owned and contracted land. After qualifying as a corporate solicitor, Robert moved home to join the family farm. He takes a keen interest in farm diversification projects, believing multiple sources of income are vital for the long-term survival of family farms.

Robert balances his role on the farm with his position as a director of agriVue. Drones have a key part to play in the drive for sustainable intensification of agriculture; they will enable farmers to closely monitor and target inputs using up to the minute data to inform management decisions. As a farmer, Robert understands what the industry is looking for from new technologies and hopes to play a role in helping to deliver them.


Julius JoelJulius Joel

Independent consultant

Julius works as an independent business consultant in the food and farming sectors. Current roles include Chairman of G’s Growers Ramsey Limited and non-executive director roles at G’s Growers and Eagle Hall Estates, combined with consultancy work across UK and Europe on business and product strategy, business leadership and sustainable farming improvement.

Julius was formerly Managing Director of Greens of Soham (part of Spearhead International), and prior to this held board level responsibilities for various business functions within the G’s group.

Having worked in the farming and produce sectors from seed to shelf, Julius believes in the opportunity for proven systems of sustainable farming to deliver profitable farms, nutritionally enriched food and carbon emissions reduction.


Poul Hoveson, Agri-Tech East StakeholderPoul Hovesen

Director of Farming, Holkham Farming Company

The Holkham Estate on the north Norfolk coast is made up of approximately 6,100 hectares of tenanted land, plus 3,000 hectares that is farmed ‘in-hand’ by the Holkham Farming Company. Cropping is done on a six course rotation with sugar beet, salad potatoes, and oil seed rape with a combinable crop in between. The livestock enterprises consist of a herd of 190 suckler beef cattle, plus a herd of Belted Galloway grazing the nature reserve in an environmentally sensitive area.

Originally from Denmark, Poul moved to the UK in 1987 to become Farms & Estate Manager for Salle Farms Company and continues to hold this position in addition to becoming Director of Farming for Holkham Farming Company in 2011. He is a past Director of Aylsham Growers, Morley Research and The Arable Group and is currently a member of the local Catchment Sensitive Farming Steering Group.

An early adopter of precision farming technology, catchment sensitive farming techniques and environmental stewardship schemes, Poul believes that environmental practices can complement modern intensive agriculture.

In 2014 the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association awarded Poul the Sir Timothy Colman prize for “his outstanding contribution towards promoting the interests and understanding of food, farming and the countryside in Norfolk”.


Dr William Kendall, Agri-Tech East StakeholderWilliam Kendall

Organic farmer, investor and entrepreneur

William Kendall led a team of entrepreneurs who spent nearly a decade building The New Covent Garden Soup Company into a very profitable brand which was eventually reversed into a listed company. With some of the same team he led the rescue of Green & Black’s, a loss-making embryonic business, which they eventually turned into a highly profitable international brand and sold to Cadbury plc in 2005.

He co-founded and chairs a niche venture advisor, Nemadi Advisors, through which he has exposure to investments in, amongst other things, retail, food, sustainable building products, water management and hotels. He is director of listed investment trust Keystone, and also specialises in advising family businesses including most recently Adnams and Notcutts in East Anglia, and elsewhere, Samworth Brothers, a very large food manufacturer. He is a Trustee of the Grosvenor Estates and a director of its subsidiary, Wheatsheaf, which invests in innovative businesses in the energy and food security sectors.

William farms organically and conventionally in East Anglia and is a campaigner on rural issues and for better food.


Dr Julian Little, Agri-Tech East StakeholderDr Julian Little

Communications and Government Affairs Manager, Bayer

Bayer Crop Science in Cambridge has recently started a new wheat breeding programme in the UK.

Julian has a PhD in Molecular Plant Pathology and has worked in plant science and crop production for over twenty-five years. He is the Communications and Government Affairs Manager at Bayer CropScience, responding to media, political and public enquiries on the subject of crop production and innovative plant breeding, together with more general issues surrounding pesticide use and sustainable agriculture. His role also covers policy and corporate social responsibility. He is also Chair of the Agricultural Biotechnology Council representing the agbiotech industry in the UK.


Calum Murray, Agri-Tech East StakeholderCalum Murray

Programme Leader, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform, Innovate UK

Innovate UK (the new name for Technology Strategy Board) is the UK’s innovation agency; its sustainable agriculture and food programme aims to increase productivity while reducing environmental impacts.

Calum studied agriculture and joined ADAS as a farm business adviser covering the Brecklands. After a while in Scotland as a national agricultural specialist for the Bank of Scotland he was transferred back to East Anglia. More recently he joined Innovate UK and has been actively involved in a number of key initiatives such as “Feeding the Future – Innovation requirements for primary food production in the UK to 2030” and as a member of the working group that developed the “UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies” launched in 2013.


Claire Ruskin, Agri-Tech East StakeholderClaire Ruskin

CEO, Cambridge Network

The Cambridge Network is a membership organisation of high technology companies, which has played a key role in developing and facilitating the growth of the Cambridge cluster, an environment that encourages leading-edge research and high growth companies.

Claire is also a partner at PA Consulting Group, successfully delivering ambitious product development projects for clients around the world. Claire helped form several start-ups including CSR and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the IET.