Meet the NFU Organic Forum 2016-17

Organic Forum 2017_41866?

Tom Rigby – North West (chairman)

Tom farms 150 acres on the Lancashire/Cheshire boarder. He’s predominantly dairy, although also grows organic potatoes (mainly blight resistant varieties bred by the Savari Trust) and organic vegetables. His farm has been nominated for a Northern Farmer Award for the use of green energy.

As well as chairing the NFU Organic Forum, Tom was previously an NFU Council delegate – as Lancashire County Chairman - and sits on the Soil Association Farmer and Grower Board. In addition, Tom is an active campaigner on behalf of farmers affected by organophosphates and played a key role in setting up the Sheep Dip Sufferers' Support Group.

Tom Rigby, Organic Forum Chairman

John Alpe – North West (deputy)

John farms around 300 acres near Whitewell , within the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire. This includes around 1000 breeding ewes, an Angus beef herd, a 50 cow dairy herd and a farm shop. The farm rises from the banks of the River Hoden to around 400 metres up on the moorland with a range of habitat improvement and environmental stewardship schemes in place. John is also involved in educational activities and the farm has facilities to host visiting groups.

As well as the Organic Forum, John is also a member of the NFU’s Hill and Uplands Farming group and represents farmers from LFAs within the Organic Forum.

John Alpe

Simon Bainbridge – North East

Simon farms an organic cross bred Angus Hereford beef suckler herd as well as a flock of Lleyn sheep on around 690 acres of his own land and a further 900 tenanted from the National Trust. Since converting the farm – near Morpeth in Northumberland – to organic production in 2010, Simon has been nominated for the Farmers Weekly Beef Farmer of the Year award. He produces all his own replacements and his steers and surplus heifers are finished on a forage-based diet and then sold into a premium beef scheme.

Simon is a commercial development farmer for Waitrose and is heavily involved in trials into sustainable livestock production.

Simon Bainbridge at Cambo First School_33557

John Pawsey – East Anglia

John is a fourth generation farmer from Suffolk. The farm is mixed, with 645 hectares of arable land and 500 New Zealand Romney sheep. John also farms an additional 650 hectares for neighbouring farmers under farm management contracts - all the farms are managed organically. As well as the NFU Organic Forum, he is a Director of Organic Arable, a member of IFOAM UK Group and a member of the Soil Association Farmer and Grower Board. In addition, John is a former Chair of the Suffolk Farming and Wildlife Group and the Suffolk Preservation Society’s Farming and Countryside Group.

Diversifications on the farm include a HLS Scheme running to 2023 majoring on landscape restoration and access as well as commercial and building rentals on former Lavenham Airfield. The farm has a photovoltaic array and two wood chip boilers.

John has been involved on the National Farmers Union Organic Forum since 2008 representing organic combinable crop farmers.

john pawsey

Mike Radford – East Anglia (deputy)

Mike Radford is a fourth generation farmer, farming around 400 acres at Burwash Manor, just outside Cambridge.  His family have owned Burwash Manor for over 100 years and since the 1908s the farm has diversified to include a farm shop, café, spa and two courtyards of rural shops.

The farm is mixed arable and livestock, with a small beef suckler herd, Essex Saddleback Durcoc cross pigs, sheep and chickens. There are a range of HLS schemes in place and the farm also includes several cereal trial plots.

Nick Adams – East Midlands

Nick Adams is a beef and sheep farmer near Brailsford in Derbyshire – his farm includes an Angus herd and a flock of Polled Dorset ewes.

Paul Crawley – South East

After graduating from Wye College in 1998, Paul spent a year working on dairy farms in New Zealand, after which he returned to the UK and contract farmed an organic dairy farm for 14 years. He and his wife then became first generation tenant farmers on a National Trust estate in the South of England and now farm 700 acres of Sussex downland organically. Their business includes a Shorthorn suckler beef herd, a flock of Lleyn sheep as well as an organic arable rotation of feed barley and red clover.

Paul is extremely passionate about organic farming and keen to work with the Organic Forum in developing sustainable marketing strategies for organic produce.

Jimi Collis – South West

Jimi is a partner in Launceston Farm near Blandford Forum in Dorset, where his family have been farming since 1929. He farms 400 hectares of mixed arable as well as 260 suckler cows across the Cranborne Chase area. Jimi returned to the farm after spending time in the banking sector as well as gaining an agricultural degree and has been farming organically for the last 8 years.  Launceston Farm has diversified to include a successful B&B business as well as solar PV and a woodchip boiler.

Having hosted National Organic Cereals, the Wessex Organic Arable Group and EBLEX in the past, Jimi is keen to share his knowledge and experience with others.

Jimi Collis

Stephen Harris – South West (deputy)

Stephen is a tenant farmer on the National Trust’s Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire. Originally starting with a pedigree dairy herd, he then moved to a beef and arable system.  He converted the farm to organic production in 2006 after deciding that it was beneficial from both a business and conservation perspective. Stourhead farmshop which Stephen opened in 2005 provides an ideal market for the farm’s organic beef and the business now includes an organic dairy herd again.

Stephen is a strong advocate of Countryside Stewardship schemes and believes that they are of widespread benefit to everyone who enjoys rural scenery.  Stephen is keen to share his passion for agriculture and experience of a wide range of farming techniques.

Steve Harris

Haydn Evans – Wales

Haydn Evans farms with his wife and son in Pembrokeshire. They run a herd of some 100 milking cows consisting of traditional breeds, principally British Friesian, Ayrshire and Dairy Shorthorn. Milk is supplied to the local dairy (Rachel's) in Aberystwyth.

In addition to representing NFU Cymru on the Organic Forum he also chairs the Soil Association Farmers and Growers board, and is a farmer member of the Agricultural Land Tribunal in Wales.

Haydn Evans

Janette Prince – West Midlands

Janette farms in partnership with her husband, Chris, in Staffordshire, with an organic dairy herd of 95 Holstein-Friesian & Montbeliarde X cows, plus followers, on 156 acres.  They are members of the Arla Co-op, which supplies organic milk to a number of customers including McDonalds. Janette also sits as an appointee on the NFU National Dairy Board and is a member of the AHDB Dairy Board. Janette is keen to promote the dairy sector, particularly the importance of consumers understanding of how food is produced.

Janette Prince


Last edited on: 17:10:2017

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