Council Members

Here you will find details of the Oxford Farming Conference directors and honorary advisors.

Our council brings together people with different experience and backgrounds, and sometimes divergent opinions, but with shared goals.

Interested in joining the Council, visit our Director Recruitment page to find out more.

About the OFC

Geoff Sansome (Chair 2024.-25) (Worcestershire)



Geoff Sansome is Head of Agriculture at Natural England, the government's adviser for the natural environment. An agricultural graduate, he worked for ADAS for 20 years, originally as an Agronomist, then leading Agricultural Transformation programmes in the Former Soviet Union and the Balkans. He then moved to the Defra Rural Development Service and as a 2004 Nuffield Scholar, studied Rural Development approaches in Europe and North America.

He brings with him 40 years’ experience of helping farmers and agriculture adapt to change, at individual, national and international levels. He is a partner in the family farm in Worcestershire; is a Farming Community Network Volunteer and a Trustee of a Worcestershire based Rural Training charity working with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Professor Mario Caccamo (Cambridge, Norfolk, Kent)

2025 - 2027


Professor Mario Caccamo is CEO of NIAB and holds an honorary professorship at the University of East Anglia. A computer scientist by training, Mario has over 20 years’ experience in life science research and big data, including specific projects to apply the latest DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatics methods to advance scientific understanding of crop genetics and the interaction of agricultural crops with their environment. 

Mario has led the work on the assembly of the first whole-genome release of the wheat reference sequence and was also one of the founding co-chairs of the expert working group within the Wheat Initiative, focused on the deployment of an international Wheat Information System.

Alison Capper (Worcestershire)

2023 - 2025

Ali Capper

In Partnership at Stocks Farm, Suckley, Worcestershire UK with her husband Richard and his father Mark, the Cappers specialise in growing hops and apples. They farm dessert & cider apples and hops.

Ali’s former career was in Advertising & Marketing. Today, in addition to numerous roles at the farm, her work includes membership of the Boards of Wye Fruit, the British Hop Association, the Norton Cider Growers Association and as Chairman of the UK’s NFU's National Horticulture & Potatoes Board, British Apples & Pears and Wye Hops. Ali is a Nuffield Scholar and a non-executive Director of NFU Mutual.

David Hill (Oxfordshire/Berkshire)

2025 - 2027

David Hill

David Hill manages a large rural estate as part of a charitable trust on the Oxfordshire/Berkshire border and advises on the management of several smaller farms and estates.

He is a trustee of the River Trust covering the Pang and Kennet river catchments, and during the covid pandemic founded and ran one of the world's first, and largest, online agricultural shows. 

He has completed the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Challenge of Rural Leadership Course and participated in the OFC Emerging Leaders (now called Inspire) programme in 2019.

Sheena Horner (Galloway)

2025 - 2027


Sheena Horner has been involved in agriculture all her life and on returning home to Galloway in Scotland, diversified into farming chillies, and more recently into a range of hardy herbs. It is through the chilli growing business that Sheena developed a network of food and drink businesses throughout Scotland. She is a firm believer in developing skills, collaboration and the circular economy which led her to setting up Food from Farming, a second business to enable her to do this.

She is the regional food and drink coordinator in Dumfries and Galloway and in Ayrshire, as well as being a trustee of The Crichton Trust and the Solway Firth Partnership. An OFC Emerging Leader (now called Inspire) and Founder of Run 1000.

Abi Kay

2024 - 2026


Abi Kay has won several awards for her journalism, including the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Young Leaders accolade and the Bob Davies Memorial Award for raising the profile of Welsh farming. She has a strong background in politics, working for a rural MP in Westminster and as a lobbyist for NFU, prior to joining the Farmers Guardian team. She now works as Deputy Editor at Farmers Weekly. 

Julia Latto (Scotland)

2024 - 2026

Julia Latto

Julia Latto has over 25 years of experience in economic development, and leads on a wide portfolio of national programs for Scottish Enterprise, including the Scottish Rural Leadership Programme.

She has presented on leadership and entrepreneurial development in rural businesses worldwide, and is a member of the International Association of Programmes for Agriculture and Rural Leaders.

Jude McCann

2024 - 2026


Dr Jude McCann grew up on a family farm in Co Derry, Northern Ireland. From 2000-2007 he worked in New Zealand working initially as a researcher at the University of Auckland and later returning to studies examining the social impacts of subsidy reforms on farming families and communities. He has significant experience within agriculture and, in particular, the farm support sector. He spent seven years as Chief Executive of a charity which provides support to farmers and their families in Northern Ireland, before taking up the position of CEO with the Farming Community Network (FCN) in January 2020 - now working across England and Wales.

His educational experience has provided him with a global perspective of agriculture and expertise, particularly related to welfare and social issues in farming communities. This includes his PhD through Queen’s University Belfast examining information systems, rural restructuring, and the social impacts of subsidy reforms in New Zealand as well as his Nuffield Farming scholarship 2017/18, in which he examined how farm support organisations can help secure farmers’ resilience in a changing world.

His experience in establishing and managing support programmes has increased his passion for sustainable farming communities, protecting our environment for future generations and he is the current chair of Farming Help.

Navaratnam Partheeban (Theeb) (South East)



Navaratnam (Theeb) is a farm vet working in the South East. His working roles have varied from working in clinical practice, university higher education, the pharmaceutical sector and in the global animal health industry. This has allowed him to study and conduct research in a number of countries around the world including the US, China and South Africa.

He was presented as an Oxford Farming Conference Emerging Leader in 2020 and is currently co-leading a research team who have been awarded an Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Grant. Theeb is also working towards completing a Nuffield Farming Scholarship sponsored by McDonalds UK and Ireland.

His other roles include being the co-founder of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS) while also being a trustee for the Country Trust and formerly a trustee of St Werburghs Inner City Farm. He is passionate about supporting the agricultural and veterinary sectors and is involved in a number of projects and groups within these areas such as the Land Workers Alliance (LWA), TIAH working group and RCVS DIG.

David Turner - Honorary Treasurer (East Anglia)

David Turner

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.



OFC25 will take place from 8th to 10th January 2025, in Oxford and Online.

A programme teaser and tickets are now available by visiting our dedicated conference section.