Kelly was brought up on her family’s dairy farm in Lincolnshire and studied agriculture, marketing and business studies at Harper Adams. She worked for 12 years as an agricultural business consultant, based in East Anglia and the East Midlands, before she joined Anglian Water.
“My position with Anglian Water was a new role, looking at how the water company could work more closely with the agricultural sector to find solutions for both water and food production. That involved working with farmers and a range of stakeholders and some real success stories came out of that,” she said.
“The biggest thing for me is the people and the relationships with everyone. I’m keen to continue building on those relationships but also to meet new people, to listen to them and to work together to find solutions.
“It’s a hugely proud moment to step into Paul’s shoes. I’ve heard they are big boots to fill but I hope I can take the role forward as he has, ensuring we achieve the fair share of water for agriculture that Paul sought to achieve when he started this role.”
A key initial task for Kelly will be drafting the NFU’s response to Water Resources East’s (WRE) emerging long-term plan for the region, one of five regional plans across England to be published in January 2022 as part of Government’s Water Resources Planning Framework. She is keen to hear from NFU members to help shape that response.
“It’s essential that we all have our voice heard. The NFU is the collective voice, but it relies on individuals participating and providing their thoughts. It’s key to be able to drive those solutions and changes forward. We are urging everyone to get involved and to provide their comments,” she said.
Kelly is married with two daughters and, outside of work, she enjoys running and cycling. She has completed the London and Edinburgh marathons and participated in triathlons.
“I enjoy getting out into our beautiful countryside when I can - it’s been really important for my mental wellbeing,” she said.
“I’m a massive advocate of supporting that, particularly through the rural sector. I have volunteered with the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network and continue to be an ambassador for the work they do.
“People living in rural areas can often find themselves quite isolated and just trying to work out what we can do to support our own mental health is crucial.”