Speaker profiles:

Since 2007, Dr Jonathan Scurlock FRSA has led on analysis and advice about energy, climate change and net zero to the NFU’s management, office holders and members. His background is in university and government research, covering energy and climate policy, plant physiology, bioenergy and other renewables. He was educated at Oxford and London and is a Visiting Fellow at the Open University.

Dr Emily Pope grew up on a sheep and arable family farm in Worcestershire. Emily gained her PhD in agricultural traffic and tillage management from Harper Adams University. She has over 10-years’ experience in academia, knowledge transfer (KT), and knowledge exchange (KE) in agriculture. In her current role as Director of Knowledge Exchange at Trinity AgTech, Emily works alongside customer success managers, sustainability specialists, a 42-member science board, and engineers, to develop Trinity’s acclaimed tool, Sandy. This all-in-one navigator accurately assesses and enhances a farm’s carbon balance, biodiversity, water quality, and natural capital.

Diogenes (Dio) Antille is a Senior Research Scientist (Soil Physics) at CSIRO Agriculture and Food at Canberra (Australia) and Team Leader (Soil Processes and Function). He obtained an EngD degree from Cranfield University, UK (2011) and completed a postdoctoral programme at Teagasc, Ireland (2013). His work focuses on mitigation of soil compaction and understanding the extent to which management-induced impacts on the soil physical environment affect crop productivity and farming systems resilience. His work has demonstrated how novel mechanisation systems can reduce soil emissions of GHG by up to 30%. Dio collaborates with Harper Adams University on the long term traffic and tillage systems research.

Simon Beddows’ career has ranged from being a freelance tractor driver to a machine operator for a large contractor to spending 5 years as a lecturer in Mechanised Crop Protection at Sparsholt. He then spent 30 years as a farm manager, during which time he won the Farmers Weekly Unit Cost Challenge, been a runner up in FW’s Farm Manager of the Year and is a monthly columnist for The Henley Standard as well as a blog writer. Presently he is with Farol Ltd as their Agronomic Technology Consultant.

Will Downie is the Precision Ag Specialist at John Deere covering Scotland and the west of England. He will be providing an overview of John Deere precision Ag technology and some of the latest innovations such as the Harvest Lab 3000 which uses precision analytics designed to help farmers be more sustainable and profitable. Will has a wealth of knowledge and experience within the agricultural industry and has strong interest in new technologies and how these can be applied to UK agriculture. Will was brought up on a family farm in the North of Scotland and studied at Harper Adams University following which he has pursued a career within the agricultural machinery industry.

Kevin Godfrey from ADAS Rosemaund is a weed biologist at ADAS with an in depth understanding of biology and ecology of grassland and arable weeds. He has 5 years’ experience managing field trials evaluating, chemical, non-chemical and precision application technique. Prior to this he worked in the organic horticulture sector.

Chris Brettell together with his brother Ed, founded their family-run Agri-Droid business in 2021. Based in Shropshire they are the official distributors of the FarmDroid FD20 robotic seeder and weeder in their own county as well as Staffordshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Powys, Clwyd and Cheshire.

Robert Thornhill completed an HND at Myerscough Agricultural College during which time he worked in France and New Zealand. Graduating in 1990 he returned to the family dairy farm in the Peak District where he managed their 130-cow pedigree Holstein herd on a traditional all-year-round calving system.

In 2000 he moved to spring calving using New Zealand Jersey genetics operating a high health closed herd. By 2003 it was all spring calving and they now milk 280 cross- bred cows. In 2012 he applied for a Nuffield Farming Scholarship, concerned that the pasture-based industry was moving towards a higher input system. He studied forages and grazing techniques for sustainable pasture-based dairying which exposed him to a host of alternative concepts. This has led to many ongoing experiments on the farm and a particular interest in trialling mixed swards as part of his pasture.

After working on local farms as a teenager, Ben Rodgers obtained a BSc in Agriculture from Sutton Bonington in 1998. After two years working as an assistant Organic Farming Adviser in Lincolnshire, he joined the Farming & Rural Conservation Agency (FRCA), part of MAFF in the UK.

Since then, he has worked within successor organisations including Defra’s Rural Development Service, Natural England and latterly Catchment Sensitive Farming. The focus of his career has been in supporting farmers across the East Midlands with Agri-Environment Scheme delivery. In 2019, he worked with a small group of dairy farmers looking at approaches to the establishment and management of herbal leys on the thin, free draining soils of the Derbyshire White Peak. This has presented both benefits and challenges to the successful integration of multi-species leys into perennial ryegrass / inorganic nitrogen-based systems.

Dr Christopher Judge has been based at PGRO since 2018 as the Senior Technical Officer for the varieties team. This involves generating the data for the descriptive list for vining peas, combining peas and field beans. Alongside this Chris works on co- ordinating private variety field trials for PGRO and various research projects. Chris has worked in crop science for 12 years, with previous roles focused on epidemiology of wheat diseases at NIAB and the John Innes Centre.

Adam White is Head of Agriculture at Barclays. With over 18 years’ experience, he leads the Agriculture team based across the UK