Sugar Board Election Hub

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Below are the full biographies from each of the four candidates who are standing to fill the three places on the Sugar Board that are up for election.

They are listed in alphabetical order, by surname. Please click on the nominee for more details or you can scroll down the page.

Please click here for the live voting link

Terms and conditions can be found on your paper voting form.

Tom Clarke

Tell us about your farming business, previous work experience and/or any relevant qualifications?

I’ve run our 1,000ac family farm near Ely, Cambs for 10 years and grow between 3000-8000 tons of beet a year, depending on the price negotiated.

After doing the Sugar Industry Program in 2016-17, I was asked to join the Board. I’m proud that in the last 2 years we’ve abolished crown tare, reformed the haulage scheme and fought the neonic ban. I’ve also spoken up in the media to promote beet farmers and defend homegrown sugar. This is my first chance to ask for your vote so I can continue representing growers and fighting for our industry’s future

What skills do you believe you will bring to the sugar board?

I’m a self-taught farmer, who used to work in business. On my way back to the family farm, I earned a degree in Economics & Politics, and a Masters in Business - specialising in negotiation and game theory. I know how big companies like British Sugar work. I know what farm businesses need. I understand how to win a better deal for us.

What do you think is the biggest challenge UK sugar producers currently face?

Sugar beet isn’t the money spinner it was. Growers lack choices and feel left behind. British Sugar is a monopoly and sugar is a global commodity. We need a strong Sugar Board to defend and push growers interests. It is one of the few crops where growers have collective power; we need to use it.

If you were elected to the board, what issues would be your priority during your time on the board?

  • Getting a better return for beet growers
  • Making British Sugar play fair
  • Promoting homegrown sugar to the public

What would you like the UK Sugar industry to look like in 5 years’ time?

By 2025, I want growers to take more control over the industry, be able to benefit from higher sugar prices, win supportive regulations and have the public on our side. I think the Sugar Board can and should make this happen.

More info at www.twhclarke.com

John Haynes

Tell us about your farming business, previous work experience and/or any relevant qualifications?

Farm Manager for MJ & SC Collins, a 1200ha family owned farming & contracting business based on the Herts/Essex border growing cereals, sugar beet and soya beans. I have been in my position for 8 years and have full responsibility for the agricultural business. Before moving to MJ & SC Collins I worked for both Farmcare and Velcourt throughout East Anglia.

What Skills do you bring to the board?

I am BASIS, FACTS and Advanced Cereals qualified having completed an Honours Degree in Agriculture and Business Management at Writtle College. I am currently on the AHDB’s Professional Manager’s Development Scheme and was a Farmers Weekly 2019 Farm Manager of the Year Finalist

Honesty, integrity and not afraid to stand up for what I believe in. Not afraid to take new challenges. Good knowledge of the wider agricultural industry as well as sugar beet.

What do you think is the biggest challenge UK sugar producers currently face?

Every year our industry and business is presented with a range of challenges – be it climate change or legislation. It is crucial to be responsive and adaptive to changes in the weather and the climate whilst also standing up for and defending the industry in which I am immensely proud to work.

If you were elected to the board, what issues would be your priority during your time on the board?

I believe that I can bring fresh, practical and commercially sound ideas, opinions and solutions to the board at a time when the industry must embrace change in order to survive and prosper.

  • The beet price
  • Challenging the constant legislative change and loss of actives
  • Promoting a responsive sugar sector.

What would you like the UK Sugar industry to look like in 5 years’ time?

A successful sector within which sugar beet is recognised as a valuable and important crop in its own right, and as a break crop. One where growers are fairly rewarded by British Sugar for the beet they grow.

Alison Lawson

Tell us about your farming business, previous work experience and/or any relevant qualifications?

I have a family farm growing mixed cereals, OSR and sugar beet. We also run a frontline business focussing on fertiliser spreading, sugar beet harvesting and lime spreading. We operate a collection hub for Agricycle – recycling waste from arable and livestock production. I completed the SIP course in 2015 and chaired the BBRO Stakeholder Board for 3 years, and I’m currently a member of the BBRO Stakeholder Committee.  

What skills do you believe you will bring to the sugar board?

I will bring a good understanding of the BBRO together with the many challenges the face our sugar beet crop husbandry going forwards, for example with the loss of actives and the need to manage soil health.

What do you think is the biggest challenge UK sugar producers currently face?

The loss of key seed treatments

Growing and harvesting of a crop that will need to comply and contribute towards the new environmental land management plan.

If you were elected to the board, what issues would be your priority during your time on the board?

  • To continue the good work already started.
  • To ensure British Sugar invests in the processing of sugar beet across all sites.
  • To ensure that new technologies come through when available to the grower and that current yields are sustainable.

What would you like the UK Sugar industry to look like in 5 years’ time?

A Profitable and sustainable sugar sector which can successfully adapt to Brexit and remain competitive in a global market

Kit Papworth

Tell us about your farming business, previous work experience and/or any relevant qualifications?

I am joint managing director L F Papworth Ltd with my cousin Tim, with his father Jim very much involved.  We contract farm 1500 ha of light sandy loam soils in North East Norfolk for a number of landowners. We farm Sugar Beet, Potatoes, Combinable Crops and Vining Peas, alongside a number of Mid-Tier schemes. We have a small beef unit which supplies the family butchers’ shops providing muck back to our farms. We grow around 160 ha Sugar Beet each year. All of these are harvested and delivered by White Cross Sugar Beet Harvesting Syndicate; a small farmers cooperative of L F Papworth Ltd, B and C Farming Ltd and Hugh Crane Ltd.  I am BASIS qualified and on the Professional Register and am a qualified sprayer driver with PA1 and 2 and on the NRoSO register, spraying all of our own Sugar Beet and some spraying on contract last season.  I have completed the Worshipful Company Advanced Certificate in Farm Management and the Challenge of Rural Leadership. I have also completed the Institute of Agricultural Management Leadership course.  I took part in the inaugural joint Sugar Industry Programme in 2010 – 2011.

What skills do you believe you will bring to the sugar board?

Alongside being a sugar beet grower for over 20 years, I am a experienced board member within the cooperative, charity and corporate sectors. I have a good grasp of the Sugar Beet industry and the challenges it faces, having worked alongside my father, a NFU Sugar Board member as recently as 2016. Having chaired an agrochemical purchase and supply business, as well as being BASIS qualified, I am acutely aware of the challenges our industry faces regarding the loss and registration of active ingredients. I have been involved in the Upper Wensum Cluster Farm Group since its inception and chair it’s steering committee and am acutely aware of the threats to our cropping from legislation, regulation and public pressure.

What do you think is the biggest challenge UK sugar producers currently face:-

Profitability. There are many threats and components to this, including climate change, water availability, beet price, world sugar price, seed price, availability of active ingredients, haulage and exchange rate but all of these mean that Sugar Beet is not making the margins that it can do, and the risks in growing the crop are too heavily weighted to the grower at present.

If you were elected to the board, what issues would be your priority during your time on the board?

  • Price
  • Seed price and availability
  • Haulage
  • Technology advancement

What would you like the UK Sugar industry to look like in 5 years’ time?

A profitable partnership for both sides, with the crop a cornerstone of arable crop rotations. The adoption of both seed and mechanical technology saving costs and improving yields.


Last edited on: 29:11:2019

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