Three new people have been added to the AHDB Potatoes board this month, bringing with them a wealth of experience.
Joining the board is Aberdeenshire grower Jim Cargill, Somerset producer Chris Wilson and experienced industry professional Alison Levett, who joined as an independent board member.
The three new sector board members all took up their three-year positions on 1 April.
AHDB board chair Sophie Churchill said: “I’m delighted to welcome our three new members to the AHDB Potatoes sector board. They bring a wealth of experience at a crucial time in British agriculture and I’m looking forward to working with each of them in the coming years.
“I also want to pay tribute to our departing members, each of whom provided invaluable insight and commitment over the three years they were part of the board. I wish them all well in the future”.
Second-generation farmer Cargill is based at Coldstream Farm, where he produces seed potatoes, cereals and daffodil bulbs.
As well as growing potato varieties Cara, Atlantic and Burren for export, he also supplies the domestic market with Gemson and Markies. Cargill markets his seed through Grampian Growers, where he has also been a longstanding board member.
Currently at the helm of AHDB’s Strategic Potato Farm South West, Wilson runs a 1,000-hectare estate at Dillington Farm in Somerset. A graduate of the University of Oxford, Chris has been an estate manager at Dillington for most of his career, having started out as farm manager in West Sussex.
He holds a number of board and committee roles, including chairman of the Branston Potato Producer Group and is a member of the Tesco Sustainable Farming Group potato panel.
Levett has built up an impressive career in the food and drink industry, including 17 years’ experience in leadership positions for both corporate and private equity-backed firms, such as UK and Ireland MD for Campbell’s Grocery Products and UK and Ireland MD for Allied Domecq.
Currently, Levett is building a portfolio of board and advisory roles including non-executive director at Roys of Wroxham. Having relocated to Somerset, she has recently taken on a house renovation project with 50 acres of grazing land.
The new board members replace those who reached the end of their tenure on 31 March. Those departing this year include Herefordshire grower Bill Quan, chief executive of Cygnet Potato Breeders Alistair Redpath, and Cornwall grower Reuben Collins.
The AHDB Potatoes Board has 11 members. As well as setting the strategy for potatoes, it also approves annual budgets and activity plans.
Since sector boards are predominantly made up of farmers, growers and processors, it provides a level of direct accountability for AHDB.