Meet the NFU Next Generation Forum

A picture of the Next Generation Forum in a meeting

The NFU Next Generation Forum meets six times throughout the year and plays a significant role in championing the importance of the next generation in farming

Work of the forum includes:

  • lobbying for progressive policy that supports and inspires emerging farming entrepreneurs
  • helping emerging farmers access skills for a modern farming career
  • supporting network building of emerging farmers to find new ideas, knowledge, and commercial opportunities

Olivia Richardson

NFU Next Generation Forum Chair, North East Regional Board and NFU Darlington Branch Chair

A former secondary school teacher, Olivia is passionate about educating the next generation, strongly believing in the power of knowledge to equip the great minds of the agricultural industry as well as empowering the consumer to make informed decisions.

While the family business manage a Limousin suckler herd and B&B pigs, Olivia has recently invested in her own Hereford herd with aspirations to supply local produce with minimal ‘Field to Fork’ miles. She is mostly involved in the arable sector of their family farm on the North Yorkshire & Durham border while also working on a Dales sheep farm who have diversified into producing haylage for the nation’s Racehorses.

As local branch chair with a seat on the regional board, Olivia enjoys the ‘on the ground’ level of engaging with farmers but is excited about the opportunities within technology advances and environmental developments opening up the industry to new entrants. She firmly believes we must engage with all to ensure food security, becoming more self sufficient by fundamentally buying seasonally and locally.

This is Olivia’s fourth term as a member of the NFU Next Generation Forum and is enthusiastic about leading the group of young professionals with their wealth of knowledge in a large variation of sectors and current topics.

Christopher Dickinson

NFU Next Generation Vice Chair

Chris comes from a mixed family farm in Cumbria where he continues to play an active role in the business which includes wagyu beef, sheep arable and egg laying enterprises.

Chris also acts as a senior consultant in the agriculture sector specialising on sales and business development. He is on the board of directors for Wagyu Breeders Association and working to promote the breed along with Warrendale wagyu. Chris has also worked with various businesses in the poultry industry and has recently taken on the dealership for Facco a world leading poultry equipment business.

He also has experience in starting new businesses and runs an innovative goat meat business supplying high end retailers and restaurants across the UK.

Being on the next gen forum is coming full circle for Chris, as he worked as a policy advisor in both poultry and the regions for 6 years. This is Chris's second term on the forum and he is looking forward to representing views of young farmers in the uk. The industry is facing tough times with rising input costs and we must stand up and make our voices heard to policy makers.

Eveey Hunter

NFU Next Generation Forum member

Eveey currently manages the family arable farm and contracting business in Hertfordshire, growing combinable crops and AD maize.

'Side hustles' include Red Tractor and TASCC consulting and preparation and being an external transport manager for two businesses.

She did not attend agricultural college or university, but instead gained qualifications such as PA1&2, HGV Class 1 and International transport manager CPC.

Eveey previously worked for two large grain storage businesses managing storage, assurance and the grain/ sugarbeet haulage enterprises.

Her biggest industry focuses aside from day to day work are farm health and safety and getting the public to realise and appreciate where their food comes from.

David Ractliffe

NFU Next Generation Forum member, South West

David is a dairy and beef farmer from Gloucestershire. He runs an extensive forage based system and supplies Wyke Farms with their milk. 

David says that helping the next generation of new entrants, farming entrepreneurs and successors is a key focus of his and the reason why he wants to be part of the NFU Next Generation Forum.

He says there has never been a more important time to focus on long term food security and a well supported next generation from all backgrounds and sectors are a key part of this becoming a reality and should also see agricultural productivity gains in time.

David would like to see the forum also working closely with the banks and lenders to understand their priorities and encourage them to consider more unsecured lending for those who would like it and have a well considered business plan to back up their ideas.

He is also interested in helping to develop policy around the NFU's net zero by 2040 ambition.

David says that every year he seems to have varying weather based challenges on his farm such as a lack of grass in the summer or flooding to name a couple. He says it's vital that work continues to find solutions with farmers across the world to help control what is likely to be farmers biggest challenge yet.

Flavian Obiero

NFU Next Generation Forum member, South East

A Kenyan pig farmer based in Hampshire, Flavian manages a 130 farrow-to-finish sow herd.

Most of the pigs are sold through the farm shop with surplus sold to local butchers.

Flavian is currently the Vice Chair of the Young National Pig Association, a member of the Oxford Farming Conference Inspire Programme and a Trustee for Jamie's Farm Charity.

Flavian is an advocate for improving personnel diversity in British agriculture and narrowing the gap between producers and consumers.

Kathryn Hart

NFU Next Generation Forum appointee, Wales

Kat was raised in the cow shed in her family farm over in Wales and she now farms alongside her husband and sons near Bristol, with a 50 cow herd of Angus cattle, a small flock of sheep, no dig market garden and a farm shop.

Kat joined the George Farm Vets in September 2011 after studying at Bristol University Vet School, where she also achieved a degree in microbiology.

Kat is interested in all areas of farm practice but her particular passion is dairy youngstock rearing and sustainability. Kat achieved her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice (Cattle) and currently sits on the board of the British Cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA).

Kat's work is driven by knowledge which she applies practically to her own farm, as well as being lead in Cultivate CPD training, a skills development service for farmers and farm vets.

Charlotte Garbutt

NFU Next Generation Forum, YFC representative

A farmer’s daughter growing up on a mixed farm of arable, beef and sheep in Yorkshire, Charlotte has always had a passion for agriculture and wanted to pursue a career in farming.

She studied agri-business at Harper Adams University and then entered the wider world of agriculture not having the chance to stay on the family farm.

As well as being an Area Manager covering the Lincolnshire area for global agrochemical company Syngenta, Charlotte also has a small herd of pedigree Limousins that she is establishing with her partner.

She is currently NFYFC Agri steering group chair and has held many roles within YFC. I

Charlotte is looking forward to her time on the NFU Next Generation Forum saying it will be great to meet with like-minded people and help develop opportunities for the future.

Kate Moss

NFU Next Generation representative, East Midlands

Our family farm is sheep and beef in the Peak District National Park on the banks of the river Dove, which I help with when I can.

I have an accountancy business and specialise in the agricultural industry, which gives me a good knowledge of many different businesses.

I enjoy being part of the Next Generation Forum and looking at ways we can help voice opinions and help farmers.

James MacLeod

NFU Next Generation representative, West Midlands

Although from a non-farming background, James has had a passion for agriculture and the countryside since an early age. This led him to the Royal Agricultural University where he studied (BSc) Agriculture.

Since July 2018 James has been working in Herefordshire as an Assistant Farm Manager. They farm 970 hectares (2400 acres), which incorporates 810 hectares of combinable crops, 70 hectares of processing potatoes for McCain Foods and 53 hectares of cider orchards for both H. Weston & Sons Ltd and Thatchers Cider Company Ltd. As of December 2017, the business has also been running a new-build 4-Shed, 180,000-bird broiler unit rearing chickens for Avara Foods. The broiler unit is fully integrated into the existing farming business, with the litter used as fertiliser under the combinable crops.

James' involvement with the NFU began in 2019, when he was selected for the Student & Young Farmer Ambassador programme. James describes this as “a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the work the NFU undertakes, attend events such as the Lord Mayors Show in London and meet many people involved within the industry”.

In being part of the NFU Next Generation Forum, James hopes to gain a greater understanding of the many policies involved within the industry, particularly those directly affecting farm level and to have a voice in future decision making.

He would also like to use his time in the role to create and be involved with a Next Generation Herefordshire and West Midlands/ Midlands group.

Harriet Wilson

NFU Next Generation Forum co-optee

Harriet is responsible for Agriculture and Sustainable Sourcing at McDonald’s UK and Ireland and is based on her family’s beef & sheep farm in Staffordshire. Her career so far has involved roles with retailers ALDI and Co-op Food, and industry placements with Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s while at university.

She graduated from Harper Adams University in 2014 and during her studies was a columnist for Farmers Weekly and spent her placement year at McDonald’s - which inspired her to return to the business in her current role in 2020.

Harriet is a member of the NFU Next Generation Forum, Meat Business Women’s UK and Ireland committee and is an adviser to the Prince’s Countryside Fund Farming Group. She also sits on the Red Tractor Board for Beef and Lamb standards.

Previously an active Young Farmers’ member, Harriet was chairman of the NFYFC Agricultural and Rural Affairs Steering Group and continues to be a club leader for her local club Eccleshall YFC, where she enjoys coaching younger members in public speaking and stock judging, as well as organising various charity events.

Helen Drinkall

NFU Next Generation Forum

Helen has an upland beef and sheep farm in Lancashire. She has been working at home on the farm for almost 10 years now, after graduating from Harper Adam’s in 2013.

Helen is predominantly on tenanted ground, with all of her moors and some of her green land being under an AHA tenancy with United utilities. The rest is either owned or tenanted from six other landlords under FBTs.

She runs approximately 2000 breeding ewes and 40 beef shorthorn suckler cattle. Most of the lambs are fattened either on ground held on a week-by-week basis over winter, or at home on bought in feed.

Most of her cattle are also fattened at home or on grass, or some bought in feed. Helen also sells meat boxes direct to the public. This is her second term on the NFU's Next Generation forum.

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