I obtained a BSc in Agriculture from Reading University in 1983 and have farmed on the Oxon/Wilts border near Faringdon ever since. I am a tenant of the National Trust on 750 acres at Colleymore farm and a part owner of 450 acres at Westmill farm. The farm business has a 110 cow dairy herd, arable and beef enterprises, several alternative farm enterprises and a HLS scheme.
I have been working on renewable energy generation and energy saving on the farm for over twenty years ranging from a 5MW Solar PV installation (commissioned July 2011) to extensive use of insulation in the farm buildings, experimenting with a legume understory in wheat to reduce use of nitrogen and N2O losses, a heat exchanger for the bulk tank etc etc.
I spent far too long (17 years!!) setting up Westmill wind farm, the largest wind farm in central southern England (5 x 1.3 MW turbines - www.westmill.coop); for this I was a finalist in Farmers Weekly Green Energy Farmer of the Year 2010.
I also helped set up community owned Westmill Solar Farm alongside the wind farm, for which I was a finalist in the Farmers Weekly Green Energy Farmer of the Year 2013 and Farmers Guardian Renewables Innovator of the Year 2013. I'm very clear about the importance and urgency of engaging, both within and beyond my work, with the threat of climate change and our responsibility to make change. FCCT is my attempting to do that within my profession.
You can read more about Westmill wind farm here.
Jonathan runs Scilly Organics, growing fruit and veg that is sold locally on the Isles of Scilly. From 5 acres he runs a small box scheme, has a small roadside stall and supplies cafes and restaurants. Sustainable, resilient and low carbon food production is something he does on a daily basis! Jonathan and his wife Claudia also have a yurt on the farm that they let out to visitors.
A founder member of Transition Scilly, Jonathan has been heavily involved with community initiatives to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, reduce individual and collective carbon footprints, and increase the resilience of the community.
He also co-founded Climate Friendly Food, going on to write and develop the CFF Carbon Calculator. This is a free online tool available to farmers and growers that allows them to accurately assess the carbon footprint of their farm businesses.
Jonathan is also a Committee member of the Organic Growers Alliance and is actively involved with the national community of organic growers. More recently he has been a Consortium member of myEcoCost, an EU-funded research project to calculate real-time ecological footprints of products and services.
You can read more about the carbon calculator here.
Andrew farms a 400 acre family arable farm in Hampshire which has a long history of conservation management and is in a HLS scheme. His farm is a net exporter of electricity as a result of a small ground mounted PV system installed in 2011.
Andrew also co-founded the Environment Centre in Southampton in 1992 and was its chair for 18 years. The Centre was not involved in agriculture but had an emphasis on domestic energy efficiency and environmental management for SMEs. More recently Andrew has been involved in renewable energy on farms, researching anaerobic digestion on behalf of the South East regional government in 2010, as a director of a solar power company, and most recently working with Forum for the Future on their Farms as Power Station project.
Andrew has been advocating the need for action on climate change since writing about it for a local newspaper in 1990. In particular he has viewed ecological footprinting as an exceptionally good way of communicating carbon impact. The carbon calculator enables farmers to do "what if scenarios" on their own farms to better understand the effectiveness of the practical mitigation measures they themselves can undertake.
Liz has a lifetime of experience in the livestock sector. She is a past President of the Shropshire Sheep Breeders Association, and is lucky enough to be presiding over a period of significant resurgence in the breed. She has one of the largest pedigree flocks of Shropshire sheep in Europe and regularly exports top performance rams to many EU countries where the breed is in demand due to their ability to graze safely in tree plantations.
Her daytime role is as Head of Farming at the Soil Association where she leads the farmer facing work of the charity as it seeks to engage with all farmers and growers to support improved resilience in the agricultural sector in the UK.
During her time with the English Food and Farming Partnerships, Liz led their work on livestock marketing collaboration and is well acquainted with the UK market and its current challenges. She is a Nuffield Scholar, studying collaboration in the red meat sector across the globe. Her report won the HSBC prize for the most relevant report to UK farmers in 2004.
Liz spent her first years after graduating from Wye College with ADAS, becoming a regional business management adviser and finally the South West Consultancy Manager before moving to EFFP in 2004.
Liz has become increasingly interested in soil carbon during her career and as the imperative to reduce the impact of farming on the environment increases. She is also keen to find better ways for livestock farmers to better calculate their carbon footprint, work on sustainable ways to reduce their environmental impact without compromising animal welfare and product quality.
David has spent his entire life working in the farming sector and retains his enthusiasm for farming and rural communities. His interests in agriculture are broad and range from intensive livestock production right through to small scale social enterprise. He believes that over the coming decades conventional agriculture and organic farming will converge as a consequence of declining chemical options, new technologies and customer demand.
David is a NED at Waldersey Farms on the fens and at the Rural Payments Agency where he represents the industry. He is a Director of The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, a Trustee of The Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust, an Ambassador for Social Farms and Gardens and helps St George’s House at Windsor Castle organise their farming consultations.
Prior to his ‘retirement’ in May 2018 David was CEO of the Royal Agricultural Society of England where he developed the Innovation for Agriculture initiative. Innovation for Agriculture is a consortium of 16 Agricultural Societies that promotes emerging technologies that will shape agriculture over the coming decades. Innovation for Agriculture has three technical programmes focused upon Soil Health, Precision Livestock Technologies and Antibiotic Resistance. The organisation is project coordinator for the 4D4F Horizon 2020 project which promotes the adoption and development of precision technologies in the dairy sector.
Previously David enjoyed a long career with The Co-operative Farms who he joined as a graduate after studying at Seale Hayne. During his time with The Co-operative Farms David held a number of Senior positions including Head of Fruit Operations and Manager of Stoughton Estate in Leicestershire. He has considerable experience in the combinable, dairy and fruit sectors.
In 2010 he completed a Nuffield study on ‘New Science and Pioneer Technologies to transform UK agriculture’ which took him to leading research facilities in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. The study developed a particular interest in genetics and automation.
David is married with two grown up sons and lives in Leicestershire
Becky Willson - Project officer
Becky joined FCCT in January 2014 as a part time project officer. Prior to starting with FCCT Becky worked on the SWARM Knowledge Hub, a project tasked with helping farmers and growers across the South West manage their resources sustainably. As part of the SWARM Hub project, Becky was part of the team that developed the Farm Crap App, a mobile phone app to help farmers calculate the nutritive value of livestock manures.
A passionate advocate for highlighting the economic benefits of sustainable farming, Becky currently divides her time between working for FCCT and working for Duchy College Rural Business School as a technical specialist in resource management.
This year (2016) Becky has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study further how to communicate carbon reduction schemes to farmers, which will feed into her work both at FCCT and at Duchy College.