Potato specialists from Soham and Cottenham join a national think tank

National potato think tank is joined by three regional specialists PHOTO: Pixabay

National potato think tank is joined by three regional specialists PHOTO: Pixabay - Credit: Archant

Two potato growers and a processor from the region joined a national potato specialist group, replacing five members who came to the end of their service.

The AHDB Potatoes board is joined by Will Shakeshaft, Michael Welham and Jonathan Papworth.

Will has 17 years’ experience in the potato processing sector working with growers and retailers.

He is a director of Greens of Soham and currently heads up the Spearhead potatoes processing division.

He said: “Farming is in my blood and I spent many hours working on the Lancashire mosses from a young age. I moved to East Anglia in the mid-nineties and soon after joined the potato industry.

“I am looking forward to helping to progress the sector during what is sure to be a time of change and opportunity.”

Michael manages potato production for Strutt and Parker Farms covering 400ha in Essex and Suffolk for both packing and crisping.

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He has been in the industry more than 18 years and a dedicated grower since 2008, supplying from July through until May with salad and main crop varieties on medium to heavy silty clay loam soils.

Jonathan is a fourth generation potato farmer, managing partner of his family farming business and joint MD of Fen Edge Farming in Cottenham.

He specialises in the production of main crop potatoes for the pre-pack, processing and chipping market and has considerable experience of operating in the contract and free-buy supply chain.

The other new members are Daniel Metheringham from North Yorkshire, and Andrew Skea from Angus.

Speaking of the appointments Rob Clayton, Strategy Director for AHDB Potatoes said: “The new board members provide AHDB Potatoes with a link to industry.

“This is as crucial as ever in what is a rapidly changing marketplace due to the uncertainty created by Brexit.

“The incoming individuals, particularly when combined with the existing board representatives, give AHDB the benefit of experience and new perspectives from across the sector as well as good geographical coverage from around the levy paying area.

“Our board is a vital part of delivering our strategy and I am looking forward to working with our new members.”

AHDB will be announcing a new chair of the potatoes board later this year.