A north Northumberland woman has taken over as the head of the Potato Council.
Fiona Fell has been appointed chairman of the group and a member of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Mrs Fell, a former mixed-practice vet, comes from a farming family. She is a former breeder of pedigree Suffolk sheep, as well as currently owning a small flock of Mule gimmers.
She said: “Being appointed chairman of Potato Council gives me the opportunity to work even more closely with the team to address the needs of levy payers as they meet the challenges and opportunities facing the potato industry.
“Our role is to provide support to improve production, assist the industry in promoting potatoes and to protect the reputation of the sector.
“I was brought up in a farming family that believed in the importance of gaining and sharing knowledge. In my wider role on the AHDB board, I look forward to using my broad agricultural and veterinary background while working with colleagues across the different AHDB sectors.”
She has served on the Potato Council Board as an independent member since 2008.
Out-going AHDB chairman John Godfrey said, “I am delighted to welcome Fiona to the Board. She has already helped to drive AHDB forward since the sad death of David Piccaver and I fully expect her considerable experience and passion for the industry to make a real contribution to the overall direction of AHDB as we help our levy payers through the years ahead.”
Thanking Tony Bambridge, Tim Papworth and Nick Tapp, who are departing Potato Council Board members, Fiona added: “it has been a privilege to work with such knowledgeable and committed individuals. We all joined the board together six years ago. This period has been a crucial time for Potato Council as we became established at Stoneleigh and adapted to being within AHDB.
“It is fantastic that we are able to find and welcome new, enthusiastic Council members who are willing to engage with fellow levy payers, take stock of their needs and keep our strategies on track”.
Along with Fiona’s appointment, four new faces have joined the board: Staffordshire potato grower James Daw, who grows for and supplies the processing sector; Bill Quan, a fresh grower from Herefordshire; Mark Taylor a director of Agrimarc; and Philip Huggon, Independent Board Member of Seafish who brings experience from various marketing, strategy and business development roles across Europe whilst with BP, Mars and Shell.
The AHDB is the UK’s statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain and managed as an independent organisation (independent of both commercial industry and of government).
Its purpose is to make agriculture and horticulture industries more competitive and sustainable through factual, evidence-based advice, information and activity.
Potato Council is the division of AHDB which works towards making the British potato industry more sustainable, competitive and profitable and helps stimulate use of the GB potato crop in home and export markets.