Staying ahead of the curve

This year, we've hosted two online panel debates to help you 'stay ahead of the curve'. Catch up with all the action below.

Operating in the new norm

Our guests discussed how their businesses have adapted to ensure continued production and performance throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and what future measures they plan to take to build resilience into their businesses.

We also heard what they anticipate being some of the future opportunities and challenges, and what we can learn from New Zealand, where they have been farming without subsidies and with differing trade deals for several years.

Operating in the new norm: watch the recording

Operating in the new norm: meet the panel

Jeff Grant

Jeff is a New Zealand sheep, beef and deer farmer and former Member of Parliament. He has held company director and chairmanship positions with over 25 companies and organisations in the agri-business sector since 1994. From 2018, Jeff spent two years at New Zealand House in London, working on Brexit and free trade agreements (FTAs) for the New Zealand meat Industry.

Jeff is currently involved in governance on the land and water reforms, including impacts of climate change policy on New Zealand farming.

Rob Ward 

Rob's farming and food industry experiences span from running one of the largest commercial soft fruit farms in the UK to product design and innovation – patenting the first commercially-available hydroponics field-scale strawberry growing system. Following this, he has applied his entrepreneurial skills to creating, building and selling businesses, ranging from grocery, retail and wholesale distribution, to food and drink consumer packaged goods and Food Tech businesses.

Rob is a 2008 Nuffield Scholar, during which he researched the future of innovation in food retail. Today, he both advises the UK DiT on the future of international AgriTech business, and how the UK can lead in this sector. He also runs his own business, specialising in discovering and developing the next generation of AgriTech businesses.

Phil Bicknell 

Phil is AHDB's Market Intelligence Director. He joined AHDB in 2017, having previously held the role of Head of Food and Farming at the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). Phil is an agricultural economics graduate from Reading University and has worked in agri-economic/food roles for the British Potato Council, the USDA and Bidwell’s. He was also Chief Economist for the NFU before his appointment to Head of Food and Farming.

Staying ahead of the curve

Featuring speakers from around the world, we brought you tips and insight to support your thinking and strategic understanding of:

  • Tactically important topics
  • Future challenges
  • Opportunities
  • Global markets

If you missed the event, you can still catch up by watching the recording. 

Staying ahead of the curve: watch the recording

Staying ahead of the curve: meet the panel

Christine Tacon

Christine is the newly appointed chair of Red Tractor – a role in which she plans to strive to ensure consumers, farmers and the whole supply chain get full value from the assurance scheme. As the UK’s first Groceries Code Adjudicator, overseeing the implementation of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, she has a wealth of experience in supply chains – both seeing where they succeed and fail – and has worked within the Co-op’s farming business, Mars Confectionery and Fonterra (dairy co-operative).

Her other roles include: Chair of MDS – a training provider of graduates to the food and produce industry; a Non-Executive Director of the AF Group – a £250m farmer-controlled purchasing organisation; and Chair of the BBC Rural Advisory Committee.

Christine will be looking at how a business or sector can evaluate its competitiveness depending on how five different forces – supplier power, buyer power, barriers to entry, substitutes and competitive rivalry – are able to wield their influence on your business and what areas you can impact. She will also discuss the benefits of understanding trends and the key to building collaborative supply chains. 

Melissa Clark-Reynolds

Melissa likes to think and speak about the future, with a particular interest in new business models – most recently, she has been looking at how the growth of ethically produced foodstuffs is connecting with a new type of customer. 

She juggles many roles, including Director of Atkins Ranch in New Zealand, exporting lamb to the USA and the first producer in the world to achieve Non-GMO Project verification.

Melissa is also chair of Little Yellow Bird Ltd. – an ethically minded uniform company, independent director and chair of the Finance and Risk Committee at Jasmax, which designs connected, collaborative and sustainable spaces across New Zealand, and is an advisory board member with Iron Duke, which helps clients navigate public policy and related issues.

Stefan Vogel

Stefan is the head of agri-commodity markets research and Global Sector Strategist (Grain & Oilseeds) within Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research.

His expertise centres around in-depth agri-commodity market research, analytics and strategic planning for the grain and oilseed sector.

Stefan has gained experience through international positions at major commodity houses and financial institutions, including as head of the economics department at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM) in Germany and director of market research and business analytics of ADM in the US.

Stefan will be examining how global markets, demand and political trends and events impact prices and trade flows here in the UK, and how you can interpret and use price signals in your own decision-making.

Get in touch

If you would like more information, contact Izak Van Heerden or Mark Campbell:

T: 07854 507279

T: 07528 780346