Meet the NFU Organics Forum

An tractor pulling a trailer past a farm steading

The NFU Organics Forum meets quarterly to discuss environmental issues which affect farming.

Andrew Burgess_73760

Chair: Andrew Burgess, East Anglia

Andrew is director and owner of Produce World and founder of RB Organic, born and raised in vegetable farming, a strategic agronomist by profession. He went to Shuttleworth Agricultural College and has since done a variety of roles in fresh produce. He is enthusiastic about environmental farming, especially organic.

Andrew is currently a trustee of the Soil Association and has served full terms on the NFU Horticulture Board, LEAF board, AHDB and British Carrot Growers. He has just retired from playing rugby for Peterborough, and is now the club president. He still skies and climbs mountains, and loves all outdoor pursuits. 

Vice chair: Mark Wycherley, West Midlands

Mark's family have farmed in Shropshire for six generations. He has been organic since 1997, farming light land. They are currently running 60 cross reds on a robot with all milk for OMSCo's antibiotic-free premium pool. They grow potatoes and have done carrots and onions in the recent past. He has enjoyed the last 23 years as he likes the feeling of working with nature not trying to beat it.

Nick Adams_52170

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.

Haydn Evans_41871

Haydn Evans, Wales

Haydn 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.

Adam Westaway Organic Forum_65258

Adam Westaway, South West

Adam is a third generation farmer dairy farmer from Devon who has been farming organically for over 20 years. The business farms 370 acres of heavy clay with 170 Friesian cows on a grazing based system milking with robots. The milk is produced using no antibiotics for OMSCo’s US premium pool for export as milk fat, powder or cheeses.

Adam has been the local NFU group chair as well as having been on the SW dairy board. Adam has recently been a board member of OMSCO as well as a chairman of the membership committee and the Devon membership rep.

John Pitts, South East

John is a fourth generation tenant farmer in West Sussex. A total of 1500 acres supports 250 dairy cows and 120 followers and a variety of arable crops including milling wheat, malting barley and maize for forage and grain. The dairy is c.96% self-sufficient in feed. Vegetables are grown in partnership with a larger specialist producer

Three composts sites are operated in Sussex and Hampshire processing c.85000 tons of green waste. The resulting composts are used on farm and form part of a range of products sold under the Earth Cycle brand. Other diversifications include a 5MW solar farm, a commercial business park and a rather challenging project to grow and develop a market for organic lilies.

John is on the membership committee of OMSCO, is chair (and the only organic member) of CCC Ltd (a cooperative providing independent agronomy advice on c.50,000 acres across the south of England), holds a BSc in Agricultural Economics and was awarded FW’s sustainable farmer of the Year in 2015.

Proud of Dairy John Alpe_45980

John Alpe, North West

John Alpe farms New Laund Farm in Whitewell, Clitheroe which is between 500 and 1500 feet above sea level and on entirely Less Favoured Area (LFA) land in Lancashire.

Life on the farm is always busy with 1000 ewes, 40 milking cows and 100 young cattle to look after.

All of the land at New Laund Farm is in environmental management and embraces heather regeneration, ground nesting bird habitat management, woodland regeneration, species rich grassland and wild flower hay meadows.

Farming close to the Lancashire town of Blackburn, John is always keen to build relationships with the local Asian community and organises bespoke farm visits for the various faith groups – on occasion providing segregated visits for male and female only groups. And with three and a half kilometres of dedicated concessionary disabled access paths around the farm, any disabled person can use metal tracks with all-terrain mobility scooters 365 days of the year.

Robin Asquith, North East

Robin is from a soft fruit production background, and after a varied early career settled on farm management. Robin has been the farm manager for Camphill Village Trust based in Botton Village, a 800 acre upland mixed organic farm since 2016. The farms primary aim is to support adults with disability and mental health concerns on farm. The farm runs a small dairy herd, beef herd and sheep as well as a small horticultural cropping area.

Robin was a Farmer Weekly Award finalist in 2015 and 2017 and was a 2016 Nuffield Scholar. Robin is keen to promote the upland farming areas, and the benefits good management can bring to the environment, food and people.

Regional deputies

Callum Weir, East Anglia

Tom Rigby, North West

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