Three new directors join Oxford Farming Conference board

A farmer, broadcaster and a scientist will join The Oxford Farming Conference board (OFC) as its new directors in January 2017. Matthew Naylor, Anna Hill and Professor Nigel Scollan will

A farmer, broadcaster and a scientist will join The Oxford Farming Conference board (OFC) as its new directors in January 2017. Matthew Naylor, Anna Hill and Professor Nigel Scollan will be appointed for a three-year term until January 2020.

Anna Hill is a journalist who has been a member of the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today team since 1995. Since then, she has covered all the major stories affecting the farming industry from BSE to Bovine TB to Black Grass. Anna has also travelled and reported on farming issues from Kosovo for Countryfile, and South Africa, Bolivia, Brazil and the Falkland Islands for the World Service; she has also been the announcer of the flagship Radio 4 Shipping Forecast.

Matthew is the managing director of Naylor Flowers Ltd, a Lincolnshire-based company that supplies 40 million British flowers each year to leading UK supermarkets. He also runs a property and renewable energy company from the farm. Matthew has been a keen supporter of Farm Africa for many years.

Professor Scollan has been recently appointed as the Director of Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute for Global Food Security. He is an animal science graduate from the University of Edinburgh, where he also undertook his PhD. Professor Scollan then undertook a two-year postdoctoral at University of Guelph. Most recently, Nigel was Waitrose Professor of Sustainable Agriculture and Director of Enterprise at IBERS.

“Our new directors have a wealth of experience and very strong networks across a wide range of farming and scientific sectors,” explains Martin Davies, OFC’s 2017 Chairman. “We were looking for directors who have passion, competence and a deep understanding of the agri-food sector – and we certainly have that in the new team.”

Anna, Matthew and Nigel will take up their three-year directorships at the OFC’s 2017 AGM on 3 January.

Commenting on his appointment, Matthew Naylor said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Oxford board, just as British agriculture faces a new dawn.  The OFC has always shaped the vision for the UK farming industry by stimulating thought and provoking civilised discussion.  Never was this role more necessary as UK farmers battle through the uncertainty to redefine their position in the global market.  I look forward to being a part of that process.”

The OFC Council consists of a group of 10 people who are committed to, and active within, the agricultural industry.  Each Director’s role is to work with the rest of the team to deliver the Conference programme, speakers and the extended activities including an extensive international scholars’ programme, the Summer Arable Conference at the Cereals Event and an annual Science and Innovation Award.  The team is supported by a professional secretariat, Farm Smart Events and a marketing consultancy, Jane Craigie Marketing.

The other directors on the board are: John Gilliland, Alan Laidlaw, Robert Lasseter, Julie Robinson, Tom Allen-Stevens, Charlotte Smith and Will Surman.  The treasurer is David Turner.

Caroline Millar, a farmer and tourism business owner, will take over as the 2018 OFC Chairman in January 2017.

The next Oxford Farming Conference will be held from 3-5 January 2017 – for more details go to

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