Meet the NFU Potato Policy Group

Hands holding potatoes

The NFU Potato Policy Group works alongside the national board for Horticulture and Potatoes and has a critical role in shaping NFU policies that impact on potato growers.

Tim Rooke

NFU Potato Policy Group chair | NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board vice chair

Tim was elected as chair of the NFU Potato Policy Group in 2022. He is a third generation farmer who grows 600 acres of processing and crisping potatoes in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

He farms in partnership with his brother and has a mixture of tenanted and owned farms. He also grows wheat, oats, and oilseed rape.

Previously, he has been a member of United Potato Farmers Limited, a director of Alpha Group, and member of the AHDB potatoes marketing group.

Alastair Heath

NFU Potato Forum vice chair

Alastair is a potato grower from Shropshire who also has chickens, oilseed rape and cereals on his farm.

Alastair farms with his brother near Telford.

They took over the farm in 2010 at which point all the land was being contract farmed by a third party and they had free range layers. 

Since taking over they have converted their poultry site back to broilers with 114,000 birds per flock.

They've also taken all the arable land back in hand and now rent a large acreage on a mix of annual and long term tenancies.

Alastair now grows 168 hectares of processing potatoes, 168 hectares of cereals and 46 hectares of Oilseed Rape. 

Louise Wright

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board member | NFU Potato Policy Group member

Since returning to the family farm in 2013, after a successful career outside of agriculture, Louise is a key part of the family team.

The Knapton family has been growing potatoes in northern Lincolnshire for over 70 years. Along with her father and sister, Louise is driving the business forward, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the business, including planting, lifting and staffing. Louise also takes on an equal role in marketing all produce grown.

Louise has been an active member of the NFU Potato Forum and East Midlands horticulture and potatoes board for six years, contributing to regional and national policy discussion.

In recent years she has completed a Foundation Degree in Agriculture at Riseholme University, taken part in the NFU Farming Ambassadors training course where chairing and negotiation skills were developed and, within a team, set up the first Institute of Agricultural Management in Lincolnshire, aiming, through events and visits, to maintain and develop skills, training and delivering information to farmers and industry leaders in the local area.

Allan Stevenson

NFU Potato Policy Group member

For the past 46 years Allan has been involved in producing and storing maincrop potatoes for supermarket and export markets. Allan's involvement is very hands on; he has driven a harvester for 35 years and still plants around half of his crop.

Allan is very concerned for the future of the potato sector and was a member of the Potato Marketing Board for the last 18 months of its existence, he then became a founding member of the British Potato Council and continued in that role for nine years.

When the NFU Potato Forum was launched he was happy to be a part of it and has continued into the newly constituted Potato Policy Group.

Alex Godfrey

NFU Potato Forum Member

Alex works in his family's business growing potatoes, sugar beet, vining peas and combinable crops in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire.

Alex is a founder board member of GB Potatoes and a former chair of the NFU Potato Forum.

Andrew Webster

NFU Potato Policy Group member

Andrew farms in partnership with his wife, Margaret, and works alongside his two sons in South West Lancashire. 

He specialises in potatoes for the crisping industry.

Andrew enjoys meeting up with like-minded potato growers and is passionate about new technologies and products which contribute to farming sustainably, ensuring a future for many generations. 

Andrew believes the potato industry needs to make its voice heard within government as well as higher up the supply chain, to ensure British potato growers remain sustainable. 

Edward Backhouse

NFU Potato Policy Group member

Edward is an arable farmer and grower who specialises in chipping potatoes. 

Edward, who works off an 80 hectare farm, sells potatoes through a number of merchants to fish and chip shops. 

He grows on a combination of owned land, permanently rented, contract farmed and single crop rented land. 

Peter Craven

NFU Potato Policy Group co-optee

Peter Craven comes from a farming family and has experience in potato and daffodil production.

Peter is a former potato grower who now works at NIAB as Research Development Manager for potatoes.

In 2020, Peter won the Nuffield Farming Scholarship. 

Robin Cropper

NFU Potato Policy Group co-optee

Robin is a combinable crops and potato farmer; his family have been farming in the Ormskirk area for more than 300 years. 

Robin went to a local comprehensive school and went on to attend Lancashire College of Agriculture, studying part time and was recognised as the top agricultural student in Britain, 1978.

After college, Robin started an agricultural contracting business focusing on the specialist application of ag chem on a range of agricultural and horticultural crops.

Robin was a founder member and vice chair of a North West Potato co-operative.

At the same time, Robin and his brother expanded their farm to around 1500 acres growing combinable crops and specialising in the production of chipping potatoes predominantly for distribution throughout the North West.

He has been actively involved with the NFU at a local level, on the North West Regional Commodity Board for Horticulture.

At national level, Robin sat on the NFU Potatoes Committee and latterly as a member of the Potato Forum.

He has also been involved in promotional work for the industry (TV, radio and national press) in his position as a Potato Ambassador for the Potato Council.

Robin is a father of three and has a particular interest in the cooking and promotion of potatoes as a healthy choice for consumers.

Andy Alexander

NFU Potato Policy Group co-optee

Andy Alexander is a farmer who has experience of retail and processing potato production. 

CUPRA member, Andy Alexander, is well seasoned when it comes to potatoes, having been an Associate Independent Potato Consultants member, Andy has also sat on the Nematicide Stewardship Board. 

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query someone from NFU CallFirst will contact you. If needed, your query will then be passed to the appropriate NFU policy team.

You have 0 characters remaining.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.