HGCAhas responded to feedback from levy payers that they wished to have greaterlocal connection with the organisations work by introducing a network ofRegional Managers.
EachRegional Manager will cover one of five HGCA regions and will be based at anexisting AHDB office. The Regional Managers have begun work already, meetingwith levy payers, farming and other industry organisations. They have alsoprovided an HGCA presence at recent regional events, and will be activelyinvolved in the planning and delivery of future HGCA events.
Oneof the early objectives of the regional team is to raise and maintain awarenessof HGCA in the regions, with partner organisations, supply chain businesses andgrowers. The team will help HGCA become more regionally focused, betterunderstanding regional needs and targeting information more precisely to thesector.
Havinga network of regionally based managers will enable us to be much closer togrowers and processors, said HGCA Sector Director Rebecca Geraghty. Theindividuals we have recruited not only know the industry in their particularregion, they also bring with them vast experience from different aspects of therural economy.
Thisis a significant change in the way HGCA engages with levy payers. We areresponding to the changing needs of the industry and improving our ability tocommunicate with stakeholders along the length of the supply chain.
Anotherimportant aspect of the teams work is the ability to provide feedback tounderpin development of HGCA strategy – the forthcoming consultation on HGCAs2015-18 research strategy being an example of this.
Asurvey at Cereals 2013 showed improving business profitability to be growerstop priority, and delivering greater business efficiency and resilience is anarea where the regional team will take a hands-on role. A range of tools,grouped under a Reaping Rewards banner, will help growers to learn fromindustry best practice. At least two Monitor Farms will be established ineach HGCA region, complemented by Arable Business Groups (ABGs), focusing onbenchmarking and costings.
UsingHGCAs CropBench tool to compare input and overhead costs, the ABGs will helpgrowers undertake realistic group and regional benchmarking, share bestpractice and challenge established thinking.
RichardLaverick will lead the regional team, and will also cover HGCAs West Region,which includes Wales and Northern Ireland. Based at the Agriculture andHorticulture Development Boards (AHDB) Stoneleigh Park offices, Richardrecently joined HGCA from ADAS, where he set up and ran a number of regionalteams. A biological scientist by training, Richard has substantial agriculturalexperience (including BASIS training) and has managed HGCA funded projectsdelivered by ADAS.
HarryHenderson will cover HGCAs North region.Based at Askham Bryan near York, Harry grew up on a farm in his nativenorth Wales. Subsequently, Harry developed an interest in farm machinery thattook him around the world working in agriculture. Having managed a plantbreeding farm near Cambridge for Monsanto, in 2005 Harry joined John Deere asCrop Systems Specialist, from where he was recruited by HGCA.
TimIsaac will cover HGCAs East region. Timjoins HGCA with more than 20 years of farm business experience in the East ofEngland. Based at Huntingdon, Tim joins HGCA from the CLA, where he wasRegional Adviser for the East of England. Trained in agricultural businessmanagement, Tim has also worked as a farm business consultant, specialising inthe direct management of farms and contracting arrangements.
PhilipDolbear will cover HGCAs South region.Taunton-based Philip joins HGCA from HSBC Agriculture, where he wasRegional Agriculture Manager in the South West region. Having studiedagriculture at university, Philip spent seven years as a farm managementconsultant with ADAS before developing his career with HSBC.
GavinDick will cover Scotland. Having been brought up on a family farm, Gavinstudied agriculture at SAC in Aberdeen before becoming farm manager on a 400 -acre arable farm. Gavin then moved to Mackies in Aberdeenshire, where hemanaged a large farming enterprise including dairy, combinable crops, seedpotatoes, pigs and poultry. He then moved to manage an estate in Perthshirespecialising in pedigree beef production and combinable crops. Before joiningHGCA, Gavin was a business specialist with SAC, working to broaden farmersbusiness management skills. He is based at AHDBs offices near Edinburgh.