Keep me informed

Sign up to our mailing list(s):


OFC News

Ambitious agriculture will be championed at OFC 2015

"For the British farming industry to thrive we must be even more ambitious in our objectives, and... read more

The Oxford Farming Conference announces three new Directors

Three highly entrepreneurial farmers will join The Oxford Farming Conference board (OFC) as its new... read more

Applications open for £10,000 OFC/RASE applied science award

Researchers behind science projects contributing to on-farm improvements are being encouraged to... read more


OFC Council



For the latest Oxford Farming Conference report and accounts, click here.


Oxford Farming Conference Directors and Honorary Advisors


RICHARD WHITLOCK - Chairman (Bedfordshire)

OFC Term: 2013-15

Richard has been in the grain industry for all his career, principally trading wheat to domestic and international processors supplied from UK and European farmers. He now runs his own business, mainly advising clients on grain marketing strategies. He is a Director of the HGCA and LEAF, chairman of the crop marketing committee for Camgrain and chairs TASCC, the merchants’ equivalent of Red Tractor, and the MICC, reviewing the Defra combinable crop supply and demand data. He started his career at Banks of Sandy, which became Banks Cargill, and was appointed Grain Director for both companies. When Banks Cargill merged with Allied Grain to form Frontier Agriculture, he was Industrial Crops Director specialising in the emerging biofuels and biodiversity sectors. He is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Farmers.


DAVID TURNER - Honorary Treasurer (East Anglia)

David is a principal in David Turner & Co - a firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers which specialises in landed estates and agriculture. Prior to the formation of David Turner & Co, David was a director with Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP. In addition to the compliance services offered by David Turner & Co he has wide-ranging experience in handling one-off assignments – including work for the major banks, government institutions and PLCs. David is a governor at Bishop Burton College in Beverley East Yorkshire, where he is also the chair of the audit committee. He has a small farm in East Anglia which he operates via a manager contractor agreement.




OFC Term: 2014-16

Dr Barsby was appointed Director and CEO of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Cambridge in September 2008.    She has significant experience in the agricultural crop sector and is internationally recognised for scientific achievements in plant biotechnology.  She has led and managed multifaceted, product driven, research and development programmes in North America and UK/mainland Europe. Tina has a first degree in Agricultural Botany from the University of Wales at Bangor, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham.  She spent a postdoctoral period at Kansas State University, and worked at Allelix Inc, Ontario, Canada for several years before returning to the UK in 1989.  She joined Nickerson UK (now part of the LG Group) where she remained until joining NIAB in 2006. 


AL BROOKS (Oxfordshire)

OFC Term: 2014-16

Al is Farms’ Manager for H. Walker & Son in Oxfordshire and several other associated businesses, which are centred around arable and livestock production systems, primarily Goat Dairying. In addition there a number of rental properties that include residential, light industrial, aeronautical, timber and agricultural uses.  Since joining, the farming operation has expanded, with the addition of extra Contract farming and the expansion of the existing field – scale solar enterprise (to circa 450 acres).  Al was named by the Farmers Weekly as ‘Farm Manager of the Year’ in 2010.  He is a Trustee of the Addington Fund, which is one of the three main farming help charities and he is very active in promoting educational access into the countryside. Having spent the majority of his career in Farm Management, a period of time was spent as National Operations Manager for a large renewables and recycling operation. Al firmly believes that the British Agriculture has a lot to offer on a global scale.


ANDREW BROWN (Leicestershire)

OFC Term: 2013-15

Andrew Brown is a  Rutland farmer born and bred and his family have been farming in the area for over 300 years. The farm is 60% arable and 40% permanent pasture. He has won several local, regional and national awards for his conservation work whilst maintaining a viable and productive commercial farm. He hosts school trips on farm and goes into schools to promote British food and farming. He sits on the Commercial Farmers Group, is a Board member of the HGCA and  a member of the Institute of Agricultural Management, the Worshipful Company of Farmers and has achieved the status of Chartered Environmentalist. Productive farming and good conservation practise go hand in hand on the farm and sharing this with the public is seen as paramount.



OFC Term: 2015-17

As CEO Europe of Westchester Global Investment Agricultural Asset Management, Martin is responsible for farmland investment in Europe for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund of America (TIAA-CREF) and other pension schemes that they invest with. Previously he lead the deployment of institutional investors capital in farmland and farming businesses in New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Poland and Chile for a London-based asset management company. After 13 years with the Cooperative Group Farms, his lead into agricultural investing was four years spent working on projects for private investors in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine. Martin is a member of the steering group for Agribenchmark, a global agricultural benchmarking initiative, and was a 2006 Nuffield Scholar. Through a family partnership he owns a small farm in Wales. 



JOHN GILES (Berkshire)

OFC Term: 2013-15

John Giles is a Divisional Director of Promar International – the agri food value chain consulting subsidiary of Genus plc.

John has also worked extensively throughout the UK and on assignments in some 60 other countries, including all other Continental EU markets, Russia, the FSU and Eastern Europe, Brazil, China, India, Myanmar, New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, Chile, the Caribbean, East and South Africa, Mexico, the US and Canada.

John has been a Visiting Fellow at the School of Agriculture, Food and the Environment at Cranfield University, and is also Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Marketing's Food, Drink and Agriculture Group. He is a Member of the Institute of Agricultural Management – he is a current member of the National Council. He has recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. He is also a current Director of the Oxford Farming Conference.

He has 3 children aged 21, 19 and 16 and lives in Reading. He is a keen follower of Reading FC as well as most other team sports. 


ALAN LAIDLAW (East Lothian)

OFC Term: 2015-17

Portfolio Manager for The Crown Estate, Alan manages the organisation’s rural and coastal interests in Scotland & Northern Ireland. He is responsible for the strategic property management of over 90,000 acres encompassing agriculture, forestry, rural development, minerals, ports & harbours and aquaculture, approximately half of Scotland’s foreshore. A chartered surveyor, he has been with The Crown Estate for eight years, previously managing its rural assets UK wide. Prior to this he was in corporate banking, lending and developing new business in the rural and agribusiness sectors across Northern England and Scotland.  Now living back in his native East Lothian he has a passion for rural business and successful communities. He is a member of the RICS Scotland Rural Professional Board, The Scottish Rural College’s Consultative Committee and The Crown Estate senior management team.



OFC Term: 2015-17

Charlotte Smith is a writer and broadcaster. She currently presents Farming Today and other rural programmes for BBC Radio 4, and for more than a decade was a presenter on BBC1's Countryfile. Charlotte grew up in rural Leicestershire and started her career as a teenaged volunteer at the local radio station. She has worked across the BBC in both news and sport, helping to launch BBC Radio 5Live, covering an Olympic games, and even bog snorkelling. She fell into rural programmes accidentally after a conversation in a lift and has reported on both the highs and lows of agriculture and the countryside over the past two decades.


Milly Wastie – Associate Director (Northamptonshire)

Milly is the East Midlands regional manager for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, overseeing the fundraising, marketing and communications for the charity across 6 counties. Milly was Chairman for the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs between 2012-2013, representing the views of 24,000 young people across England and Wales. During her term she founded a national road safety campaign ‘Drive it Home’ which caught the attention of the national media, celebrities, politicians, road safety stakeholders, YFC members and the farming community. Milly has been awarded the Pride in Northamptonshire award as a young achiever and was a 2013 Farmers Weekly Farming champion finalist. Milly supports her partner Andrew on the family farm in rural Northamptonshire which comprises of beef, sheep and arable land. Having been awarded a grant from the Henry Plumb Foundation, Milly has been working on a project to add value to rare breed pig meat and also enjoys communicating about the field to fork process.
Having attended 5 Oxford Farming conferences as a scholar and winning the union debate in 2012, Milly was elected with a new position of associate director to help support the development of the scholar programme to ensure future delegates get the most from the conference.



OFC Term: 2014-16

Philip is Executive Director 2 Sisters Food Group. After studying agriculture at Askham Bryan, Philip chose the dairy industry for his career.  Starting as a management trainee at the Milk Marketing Board of England and Wales, he progressed through a range of senior roles within the industry, culminating in that of commercial director of Arla Foods plc.  In parallel with this career, he studied agribusiness at Harvard Business School. During his career Philip held several industry positions including Chairmanship of the Dairy Council and National Dairy Farm Assured Ltd.  He was awarded an OBE for services to the dairy industry in 2003. Upon leaving the dairy sector, Philip became Managing Director of Grampian Country Food Group’s integrated chicken business and more recently joined 2 Sisters Food Group, a privately-owned chicken business supplying a range of products across all industry sectors.  He is a Director of the Red Tractor Poultry Sector Board and the British Poultry Council. Philip is a non-executive Director of Paramount 21 a privately-owned sea food company, a member of the Worshipful Company of Poulters and a Freeman of the City of London.  He is as a consultant to Alltech, one of the world’s largest animal health and nutrition companies.


Honorary Patron: HRH The Princess Royal

Secretary: Ann Newbold (Cumbria)

Media relations & marketing: Jane Craigie (Aberdeenshire)
Jane is a marketing and media relations consultant working with a range of clients within the agri-food sector, including BASF plc, Agrovista, HGCA and RAGT Seeds. She is Chairman of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (2013-15). Jane is responsible for OFC marketing, media relations and the OFC website.

Accountants: The Hutchinson Partnership, The Bull Pen, Amberley Court, Sutton St. Nicholas, Hereford HR1 3BX

Bankers: Handelsbanken, First Floor East, Bridge Mills, Stramongate, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4UB

Solicitors: Mills & Reeve, 1 James Court Whitefriars Norwich Norfolk

The OFC believes creating an inclusive and diverse culture supports the attraction of talented people, improves effectiveness and enhances the success of OFC. While criteria such as gender or ethnicity are important, we also value diversity of experience, skills, knowledge and expertise, as can be seen by the existing members of our council listed on our website. Our Board brings together people with different experience and backgrounds, and sometimes divergent opinions, but with shared goals.