Tom ClarkeRed Tractor & Net-zero representative | NFU Sugar Board
Tom works to ensure grower views are fully represented at Red Tractor meetings and decisions are consistent with and appropriate for UK sugar beet growers. He represents sugar beet growers on the Red Tractor TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) and Red Tractor Crops and Sugar Beet Board, fighting for fit for purpose, proportionate standards.
He also works with Alison to lead on climate friendly farming policy on behalf of the NFU Sugar Board. They attend the monthly NFU Net Zero Strategic Advisory Group, ensuring sugar beet growers are represented in discussions regarding the NFU’s 2040 net zero goal.
As well as sugar beet, Tom grows milling and biscuit wheat, potatoes and linseed on the recently expanded 420ha farm near Ely in the Fens.
He joined HLS in 2012 and has formed the Ely Nature-Friendly Farming Zone with 22 neighbours and counting, in partnership with the RSPB.
He is keen to educate the public about food and farming. This sees him host local school visits as well as running the Prickwillow Ploughing Festival with the local museum, getting around 2000 visitors every year. He is also active in standing up for British farming on social media and increasingly in the written and broadcast media.
Tom has a degree in economics and politics and an MBA from Warwick Business School. He worked in journalism, local government and as a management consultant across public and private sectors before unexpectedly having to return to run the family farming company in 2009. He is now an accidental fourth generation farmer. He has never studied agriculture but rather ran the business side of things and has learned how to farm 'on-the-job’. Tom was selected as an Emerging Leader at the 2019 Oxford Farming Conference.
In his second year being co-opted onto the board by the other members, Tom took on responsibility for the Beet Yield Challenge run by the BBRO.
Tom said: “Beet growers have a great story to tell about homegrown sugar and the progress we have made so far. There is always more work to do, and crucially through better cooperation I believe growers can seize opportunities, win greater economic power and gain more control over our industry and our livelihoods.”