Ali Capper – Stocks Farm – HCP Chairman
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 and cider apples and hops.
Ali’s former career was in advertising and marketing. Today, in addition to numerous roles at the farm, her work includes membership of the boards of the Oxford Farming Conference, the British Hop Association, the NFU’s National Horticulture & Potatoes Board and Wye Hops Ltd. Ali is executive chair of British Apples & Pears Ltd, a Nuffield Scholar and a non-executive director for NFU Mutual.
Jack Ward N.Sch, FRAgS – Company Secretary
Jack is chief executive of the British Growers Association, a grower owned, and grower controlled cooperative which facilitates 40 organisations operating across UK horticulture. He works extensively on behalf of the sector on the issues of the day. He is co-chair of the Defra Edibles roundtable and is a member of several stakeholder groups representing the interests of the fresh produce industry. He is on the board of trustees of Processors and Growers Research Organisation and a member of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers.
Prior to joining British Growers, Jack was CEO of City & Guilds NPTC providing vocational qualifications for the land-based industries. He also held several posts with the NFU, including regional director for the East Midlands. He is a Nuffield Scholar and went on to chair the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust. He is a former director of the Oxford Farming Conference and became a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society of England in 2014.
Charles Carr – Hillier Nurseries
Charles has worked in the ornamentals sector since leaving school some 35 years ago and has been at Hillier as head of wholesale nurseries since 2018. Prior to this, he worked at Lowaters Nurseries as a director for 12 years and almost 10 years at Notcutts Nurseries on various sites. During this period he was lucky enough to be involved in the production of a wide and challenging range of plants.
Robert James – Thanet Earth
Robert has worked at Thanet Earth since the earliest days of the project in 2008 as part of the leadership team on site. He has helped develop a cutting edge, fully functioning greenhouse complex. Now technical director, he is responsible for all aspects of product quality, sustainability, research projects, innovation, varietal development, environment and food safety.
Originally a Kent farmer, Robert has spent over 30 years working in the produce industry. His broad experience covers commercial, operational and technical roles, across a wide variety of products grown both in the UK and around the world. Prior to joining Thanet Earth, he held a commercial position within Fresca, one of the Thanet Earth parent companies. He has also represented industry on the AHDB Horticulture board and now the NFU horticulture and potato board as well as other bodies such as the Tomato Growers Association.
Rob Parker – G’s
Growing up on a small family veg farm in Lincolnshire, Rob studied at Harper Adams University before joining the G’s Group, post graduation, in 2003. During the past 20 years Rob has moved up through the lettuce and farming team and now holds the positions of future farming and innovation director for Cambs Farms Growers and G’s Growers Nurseries managing director. Rob has been the British Leafy Salads chairman for the past four years and sits on both the British Leafy Salads Association and Plant Propagators Limited R&D panels.
Sam Rix – P.G. Rix Farms
Sam is a director of P.G. Rix Farms and Stourgarden Ltd. An onion specialist with 12 years of agronomy experience, he is the current British Onions R&D chairman and has previously served two terms on the AHDB Field Vegetable Panel.
Robin Squance – Brookhouse Nurseries
Robin has been in horticulture for over 45 years. He manages Brookhouse Nurseries for the Barton Grange Group, growing a wide range of pot and bedding plants. Having previously been a houseplant and plantarea manager, he has a wealth of horticultural experience. Currently the British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) technical chairman and HCP director, he is working with other ornamental groups to ensure EAMUs are available to growers
Dr Louise Sutherland – British Berry Growers
Louise is chair of the British Berry Growers R&D board. She is also director of Ceres Agri-tech at Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge. Ceres Agri-tech translates plant agri-tech innovations from the lab bench to farmers’ fields. Louise is also chair of the Raspberry Breeding Consortium at James Hutton Institute. She has a PhD in Plant Pathology.
Derek Wilkinson – Sandfields Farms Ltd
Derek is based in Warwickshire and is managing director and a shareholder of Sandfields Farms Ltd (part of The Shropshire Group). Sandfields Farms, which was set up in 2007, is a farming business growing over 1500ha of salads and vegetables for the major retailers, and employing more than 800 staff across Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Kent. Sandfields also grow over 400ha of combinable crops in rotation and their land base is predominantly rented from a whole range of landlords and farmer partners ranging from small to very large.
Keston Williams – Chief Operating Officer, Barfoots.
Keston Williams has worked in agriculture and the fresh produce industry for over 27 years and is chief operating officer of Barfoots. Keston heads up the operational and technical teams, with additional responsibility for glasshouse production, R&D, innovation and sustainability. Having completed a degree in biological sciences and a masters in crop protection, Keston has held senior agronomy, operations and technical positions. Barfoots, owned by Peter Barfoot, is based near Chichester and farms, procures, processes and packs premium vegetables for its retail customers. Barfoots farms over 8500 acres on the south coast of the UK, whilst also having its own farming operations and long-established growing partnerships in 28 other countries around the world. Keston is also involved with a number of food and horticultural industry organisations, including being a board member of FIIN (Food Industry Intelligence Network) and previously the AHDB.