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Richard Whitlock and Peter Kendall launch fundraising Farm Cycle Challenge

Peter Kendall and OFC 2015 Chairman, Richard Whitlock, will be cycling over 1000 miles between the... read more

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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

Following a long career in agricultural merchanting, Richard now runs his own business advising and representing companies and trade bodies in the arable crop marketing sectors. He is Chairman of the UK post-farmgate grain assurance scheme, TASCC, operated by the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) and represents the UK grain trade at the EU grain association COCERAL. He is a director of LEAF and the HGCA, where he also chairs the Defra/HGCA Market Intelligence Committee. Richard is involved with the UK biofuels industry and sits on the DfT’s Expert Working Group on Biofuels.


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

Tina Barsby is Director and CEO of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Cambridge. She studied Agricultural Botany at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, before taking her PhD at 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.  Her experience spans academic and commercial research in the agricultural crop sector.  She joined Nickerson UK (now part of the LG Group) where she remained until joining NIAB in 2006.


AL BROOKS (Buckinghamshire)

OFC Term: 2014-16

Al is Farms Manager for the Waddesdon Estate in Buckinghamshire and several other associated businesses, which are centred around arable and livestock production systems.  Since joining, the farming operation has expanded significantly, with the addition of several alternative enterprises, including a farming operation in Cambridgeshire.  Al was named by 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 on the Waddesdon Estate and surrounding area. 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. The farm is 60% arable and 40% permanent pasture. He is currently NFU East Midlands Regional Chairman. 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 and goes into schools to promote British food and farming. He sits on the Board of the HGCA, the Farmers Club Committee, the Commercial Farmers Group, and is a member of the Institute of Agricultural Management, the Worshipful Company of Farmers and has achieved the status of Chartered Environmentalist.



OFC Term: 2015-17

Martin is from a farming background and was brought up on a mixed farm in Breconshire, Wales. He has a Degree in Agriculture from Reading University and was a 2006 Nuffield Scholar, travelling in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Ukraine, America and Russia to complete his thesis studying the impact of Bio fuels on crop production in Europe. After 13 years working for the Cooperative Group, where he worked right through the business starting as a Management Trainee to Head of Farming Operations, he worked on a number of projects for investors in large scale farming business in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria through a Farm Management Company, Proventus International Ltd which he set up with a former colleague from the Cooperative Group. For the last four years as Head of Farmland Investment for an asset management subsidiary of Bank of New York Mellon; Insight investment, he has been involved in deploying institutional investors capital in farmland and farming businesses in New Zealand, Australia, Romania, Poland and Chile. He is a member of the steering group for Agribenchmark, a global agricultural benchmarking initiative run from the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute at Braunschweig, Germany and a professional member of the Institure of Agricultural Management. A keen endurance athlete Martin has done the London, New York and Midnight Sun Marathons and is a regular competitor in triathlons. 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. Educated at University College Swansea in the early 1980s, he has been with the company for over 18 years.  In this time, he has carried out supply chain analyses, business planning, evaluation and feasibility assignments across a wide range of areas within the agri-food sector. John Giles 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, New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, Chile, the Caribbean, East and South Africa, Mexico, the US and Canada. John Giles 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 has been on the Editorial Board of the agri-sector publication Farm Business, and is a Member of the Institute of Agricultural Management – he is a current member of the National Council.  He has recently been made an Associate of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. John Giles is also a regular contributor to leading UK and international agri-food trade and business magazines and conferences. He has 3 children aged 21, 18 and 14 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.



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, 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: Barclays Bank plc, Britannia Warehouse The Docks, Gloucester GL1 2EH

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