Meet the Crops Board

Matt Culley

Matt Culley – Chairman and South East

James Cox – Vice Chairman and South West

James farms 260 hectares of Cotswold Brash soils near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The farm produces malting barley for Molson Coors, milling wheat for Warburtons, feed wheat and oilseed rape. The farm is currently managed under a HLS agreement having previously been in the Cotswold Hills ESA. James is also a member of the Molson Coors Growers Group steering committee and the local NIABTAG technical committee. James represents the NFU Crops Board on the Red Tractor Crops & Sugar Beet Board.

James Cox

Brett Askew – North East

Brett and his family farm 500 hectares of land at Gateshead, near the Angel of the North, in a combination of owned, tenanted and contract agreements. Brett grows feed wheat, milling oats, malting barley, beans and HEAR oilseed rape which are all supplied into added value local markets. Brett is a member of Tyne Grain Farmers Cooperative, which owns GrainCo and believes strongly in the co-operative model. Brett is chairman of the North East Regional Crops Board and with strong connections to the two bioethanol plants located in his region Brett leads on biofuels for the NFU. Brett also represents the NFU Crops Board on the Red Tractor Crops & Sugar Beet Board.

Brett Askew - North East crops board member_53878

Jamie Burrows - East Anglia

Located just 20 miles from London’s Marble Arch and farming on the fringe of St Albans, Jamie is one half of Sandcross Farming LLP who farm c1000ha of cereals, mostly in the south of Hertfordshire.

The joint venture has a mix of owned, tenanted and contract farming agreements, growing milling and feed wheat, milling oats, feed and malting barley, peas, beans and, for the time being, oilseed rape. 

Due to the complex nature of the soils in South Herts, ranging from heavy clays to gravel, Jamie and his colleagues cover a wide range of cultivation and drilling methods, however, a happy medium of min-till normally takes place on 50% of the land farmed.  All grain is sold through Openfield going to homes relatively locally, usually within 50 miles.

At home, the family farm has diversified, with an 80 horse livery and riding school, with all hay and straw produced in house.

Having been involved in the NFU locally since returning home from Harper Adams in 2005 Jamie has gradually become more and more involved at a regional level and now, as well as being Hertfordshire NFU County Chairman, he is also East Anglia Combinable Crops Board Chairman.  He is also an ex-Cereals Development Programme participant, and keen to get others involved in these types of initiatives.  

Jamie is passionate about achieving the best for cereal and oilseed producers, and proud to represent the cereals interests of East Anglia members.

Jamie Burrows

Ed Horton - Co-optee

Ed farms 3500ha in the Cotswolds. His cropping runs to milling wheat, milling oats, OSR, beans, malting barley, rye, maize, phacelia, and triticale for seed.

The livestock and arable sides of the farm are closely integrated, with slurry used to replace the need for artificial N and sheep used to graze cereals to remove the need for fungicides and growth regulators.

Ed also has a pedigree heard of Beef Shorthorns. There is a strong soil health and biodiversity focus on the farm. In conjunction with a large Mid-Tier Scheme they utilise temporary herb and legume rich grass ley, cover crops, temporary fodder crops and direct drilling to gain the benefits that each aspect brings.

Ed Horton_74575

Andrew Davies - NFU Cymru

Andrew farms over 300 acres at Redlands Farm outside Haverfordwest, on the Pembrokeshire Coast. He grows winter and spring barley, winter wheat and winter oilseed rape. He also runs his own well respected Agronomy and seed business, spanning the three local counties. In addition to his duties as chairman of the Welsh Crops Board, Andrew is also a member of the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society Council and Estates Committee.

Andrew Davies

Olly Harrison – North West

Olly farms 950 acres on the urban fringe near to Liverpool, he farms a mixture of owned, tenanted and share farmed ground along with some contracting. Cropping includes wheat feed, malting barley, oilseed rape and beans; all of which is direct drilled. Olly also rents out office accommodation in converted barns that used to house cattle. Alongside the arable enterprise Olly recycles tree waste into biomass and some composting. Olly also represents the NFU Crops Board on the Red Tractor Crops & Sugar Beet Board.

Olly Harrison_53936

Andrew Williamson – West Midlands

Andrew farms near Bridgnorth, in south Shropshire, where he is the managing partner of the family farming partnership. He returned home to join the partnership in 1999 after completing a honours degree in Chemistry at the University of Bristol and working on farms in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

He farms 900 acres of combinable crops, wheat, oilseed rape, oats, barley and beans.

Alongside this, he lets out some permanent pasture for sheep grazing and all the land he manages is covered by a HLS scheme. The business uses precision farming techniques extensively and is beginning the journey into conservation agriculture.

Andrew is also involved in a joint venture machinery sharing agreement with a neighbouring farmer.

Andrew Williamson

Peter Gadd - East Midlands

Peter is a third generation farmer of arable crops in the area of South Nottinghamshire in East Midlands region. Having achieved an OND in Agriculture, Peter has subsequently farmed a mix of owned and rented land of varying soil types growing predominantly winter cereals and oilseeds, and spring beans. Peter has represented the cereals policy interests of Nottinghamshire growers through many facets of the industry, including the NFU since 1981 and a 6-year spell on NFU Council.

Focus has been on achieving high yields with attention to detail. Operating as a sole trader with the assistance of contractors for specific tasks as required. Peter has had a grower representation role on AHDB’s Cereal and Oilseeds Research & KE Board for 6 years while overseeing significant levy investment for growers. Special areas of interest focus on IPM & PPP’s.

Additionally, Peter has seats on the PGRO RL Pulse Committee and also on the AHDB RL Wheat Committee. Now Chair of East Midlands Regional Combinable Crops Board, Peter currently has a role in the Red Tractor Technical Advisory Panel overseeing the standards review.

Peter Gadd

Sarah Bell - Appointee

Sarah splits her time between her consultancy business and her family farm in Rutland. A mixed unit growing a diverse rotation of combinable crops, a suckler heard of 150 head of homebred Limousin x cows and a small flock of sheep.

Sarah worked in the grain trade for 13 years prior to setting up her consultancy business, which specialises in development of sustainable supply chains for combinable crops.  Sarah has worked extensively in IT and sustainability as well as in commercial roles throughout her career..

Sarah Bell

James Standen - Appointee

James is the farms director for Newcastle University Farms, managing around 1,200 acres of arable, two dairy herds, and a 140 sow breeder finisher unit. The farms are commercial operations but have a strong research and teaching focus. 

James also farms in partnership with his wife on 300 acres in North Yorkshire, growing combinable crops and running a small flock of New Zealand Romneys. With a large ELS/HLS scheme, the farm is LEAF Marque accredited. 

James is a governor of Askham Bryan College and a director of its farming company as well as a council member of the Institute of Agricultural Management. Prior to moving to Yorkshire, James managed the Montreal Estate in Kent and has previously been a director of Southern Farmers and RAMSAK.  

James Standen_53934

Andrew Crossley

I was brought up in Sheffield and graduated from Harper Adams in 1991, having gained an Honours degree in Agriculture. On graduation I was employed by Booker Farming as a trainee manager with various placements in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Essex and Lincolnshire plus a tree nursery and head office function experience. The permanent roles for Booker then included assistant manager in Hampshire and Farm Manager in Essex. When CWS Agriculture purchased the company, the Essex role expended to 2500 hectares from Saffron Walden to Chelmsford as Farmcare Ltd Essex. This was an all combinable crop operation for Pension Fund owned land and a range of contract farming operations for local land owners.

In 2002 I moved to Cambridge to manage the Trumpington Farm Company, a 2500 hectare combinable and root crop operation. This business was developed to include venue hire, extensive HLS, amenity work and renewables. My corporate farming experience has been a benefit when managing private agribusiness. In 2006 I gained a diploma in business management with the OU.

Nine years ago I took up the role of Farms Director for Thurlow Estate Farms Limited on the Suffolk, Cambridge and Essex borders. The predominantly combinable crop operation required restructure.  The business now operates as one having re-organised cropping, machinery, working practices and infrastructure. The operation is now in a strong place to adapt to the ever changing focus of agriculture and environment.

Alongside professional activities I have been NFU branch chairman, IAgrM branch chairman, local FWAG and NFU regional crops board chairman, these roles have broadened my understanding of the politics that influence our industry and the issues we face.

Andrew Crossley