Brexit 360 - A year to go

Brexit has big implications for any discussion about the future of our agriculture and horticulture industries.

On 28 March, with one year to go before the UK's official exit from the EU, we'll be hosting a live broadcast in partnership with Farmers Guardian exploring;

  • how far we've come since the referendum
  • where future opportunities might lie
  • what can be done, and is already being done on-farm to get 'fit for the future'


Session One - Where are we now? 9.30am - 9.45am / 10am - 10.15am
While Brexit remains headline news, there remains much uncertainty. What we do know is that agriculture is likely to be one of the sectors most impacted by Brexit due to the significance of the Common Agricultural Policy to farmers in the UK and the fact that the EU dominates our agri-food trade. The panel will discuss how far we’ve come since the referendum, what the signals from UK Governments are so far and what they mean for the industry as a whole, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes work being done to inform the debate. Farmers Guardian Editor Ben Briggs joins this panel to highlight some of his readership’s key concerns and priorities over the course of the coming years.


  • Ben Briggs, Editor, Farmers Guardian
  • Phil Bicknell, Market Intelligence Director, AHDB
  • Tom Keen, EU Exit and International Trade Adviser, NFU
  • John Richards, Industry Development and Relations Manager, Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC - Meat Promotion Wales)

Session Two - Global opportunities and challenges. 12.30pm - 12.45pm / 1pm - 1.15pm
The EU is our most important trading partner, with two-thirds in value of UK agricultural exports destined there. Equally 70 per cent of our imports come from the EU. While our future trading relationship with Europe remains unclear and with the prospect of striking deals with other countries around the world heralded as a significant prize from Brexit, where does food and farming fit in? The panel will discuss some of the opportunities to grow existing markets for agricultural products, tap into new markets and some recent successes in securing market access. We’ll also preview new market research by AHDB, to be published in April, which shows what is important to overseas consumers when buying their food and how UK exporters can make the most of on the unique qualities of the British brand.


  • Peter Hardwick, Head of Exports, AHDB
  • Rob Clayton, Potatoes Strategy Director, AHDB
  • David Swales, Head of Strategic Insight, AHDB

Session Three - Fit for the future. 3pm - 3.15pm / 3.30pm - 3.45pm
Our research shows that the top 25 per cent of performers, regardless of sector or farm size, are best placed to weather the Brexit storm. Although individual farmers and growers can do little to influence the wider policy decisions, we feel there is a lot within your control to help your business get fit for the future. But where do you start? Our panellists will discuss the tools and support available, the practical steps you can take to build your resilience to Brexit shocks and successful measures already being taken on farm.


  • Martin Williams, Monitor Farmer
  • Graham Redman, Partner, The Anderson Centre
  • Sarah Baker, Strategic Insight Manager, AHDB
  • Philip Dolbear, Knowledge Exchange Manager, AHDB


John Bates
John Bates - AHDB Senior Media & PR Manager

John is a media and communications specialist focusing on issues management, planned and reactive communications including giving reliable PR support and media management advice on high profile, complex matters to protect and enhance reputations. John works across all sector but has extensive experience in the dairy sector.





Phil Bicknell

Phil Bicknell - AHDB Market Intelligence Director

Phil joined AHDB in January 2017 to head up the 60 strong team of market and data specialists providing high quality, independent analysis and insight. Phil joins from the National Farmers Union, where he was Head of Food and Farming and formerly the NFU Chief Economist. Growing up on the family livestock farm, Phil is an agricultural economics graduate from the University of Reading and has worked in agri-economic/food roles for the British Potato Council, the USDA and Bidwells.




Tom KeenTom Keen - EU Exit and International Trade Adviser, NFU

Tom and his team coordinate, develop and promote NFU policy concerning Brexit and trade, bringing together expertise from within and without the Union to make the case to the government for the best deal possible for agriculture during the changes that Brexit will bring about. Tom grew up on his family’s dairy farm and has been with the NFU since September 2014. He first joined on the Graduate Scheme and also spent two years working and lobbying on European policy in the NFU Brussels office.

John Richards - Industry Development and Relations Manager, HCC

John Richards was appointed as Hybu Cig Cymru’s Industry Development and Relations Manager in 2017. Trained as an agricultural economist, John has extensive experience of working in the agricultural sector in Wales. John previously served as Industry Information Executive at HCC and has also worked at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.

Ben Briggs - Editor Farmers Guardian

Ben has been editor of Farmers Guardian since March 2016.The magazine, available every Friday, continues to go from strength to strength and FG’s digital offering, via, is receiving more than 400,000 page views a month. FG also has the largest social media platform of any UK farming publication, with a combined Facebook and Twitter following in excess of 200,000. From a farming background in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, Ben’s academic and professional qualifications are in the field of journalism and he has previously worked in the regional press and edited a non-agricultural business magazine.Having done a two-year stint at FG at the start of his career, Ben rejoined the publication at the end of 2010 as news editor.FG, headquartered in Preston, Lancashire, is part of the burgeoning AgriBriefing group which also runs Dairy Farmer and Arable Farming magazines;; Lamma Show; the British Farming Awards, as well as a number of international agri-business websites.

Peter Hardwick - AHDB Head of Exports

Peter Hardwick is Head of Exports for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and heads up the team that manages international trade development and marketing in the meat, dairy and crops sectors as well as the AHDB EU team based in Brussels. Much of Peter’s early career was in the international meat industry both in processing and in international trading and exports in the UK, South America and Spain. He also worked in the fruit and vegetable processing sector in South Africa for three years as well as in an international trading role with Del Monte. He joined the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) in 1994 where, for 15 years, he was based in Brussels, running the EU office of that organisation as well as managing the meat export trade development work from 1999. The MLC was integrated into the AHDB on its creation in 2008. He returned to UK in 2010 and took up his cross-sector role as Head of Exports in 2016.

David SwalesDavid Swales - AHDB Head of Strategic Insight

David Swales joined the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) in 2010 and is currently Head of Strategic Insight. He is responsible for consumer and market intelligence research. His team provides information to levy payers as well as providing evidence to shape the organisation’s strategic direction. Most recently, he has written a number of AHDB’s Horizon reports on issues relating to Brexit. 




Rob Clayton - AHDB Strategy Director for Potatoes

With a degree in Crop Science Rob started research into sustainable use of blight-resistant potato varieties back in 1989. He’s always stayed close to potatoes and has taken on various roles within research institutes and levy bodies covering storage research, teaching BScs and MScs, consultancy, pesticide efficacy trials, agronomy and knowledge exchange. Formerly Director of AHDB-Potato Council he took on the Sector Strategy Director role three years ago and spends his time working with industry, levy payers, key stakeholders and the AHDB Potatoes Board to make sure potato levy is spent in the most efficient and impactful way for the benefit of levy payers.

Sarah Baker - AHDB Strategic Insight Manager

Sarah joined AHDB in August 2015 as a Senior Analyst in Strategic Insight. Since the referendum, Sarah has been primarily focused on the Horizon series of publications, examining the likely effects of Brexit on the industry. Sarah is an agricultural economist from Wye College and worked extensively in the animal health industry prior to joining AHDB.

Graham Redman - Partner, The Anderson Centre

Graham’s work covers a wide variety of research for the agri-industry and food supply chain sectors. His team interprets agricultural change, providing specialist business research, training, briefings and publishes information. His specialisms include global grain economics and agricultural competitiveness.

Phillip Dolbear - AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager (South West)

Philip joined AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds from HSBC Agriculture, where he was Senior Agriculture Manager in the South West region. Having studied agriculture at university, Philip spent seven years as a Senior Business Management Consultant with ADAS before developing his career with HSBC. He brings substantial business management experience to the Regional Team, and a detailed understanding of the complexities of the industry in the region.

Martin Williams - Farmer

A Cereals & Oilseeds Monitor Farmer, Martin farms 800 ha arable crops on the banks of the River Wye at Fownhope, and also has a small flock of Jacob sheep and rents out land for grazing. Martin’s particular challenges are trying to decrease his cost of production, be successful in a very competitive market and to efficiently manage crops with limited chemical availability. Working together to form a joint Monitor Farm with Russell Price, the duo are confident that this collaboration will allow them to make comparisons in their businesses, providing a wide array of topics around which local farmers can share knowledge and best practice. 

Get involved

On the day, our panellists will be answering your questions, so send them via video or tweet to @TheAHDB including the hashtag #Brexit360.

To watch last year’s broadcast click here

Stay informed

In the meantime, take a look at our series of Horizon Publications. AHDB’s Horizon series delves into the issues surrounding Brexit and is essential reading for those involved in the agri-food sector. Browse our full Horizon publication list.