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NIAB and TAG integration will re-connect the science base and practical agriculture

01 October 2009

The National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) and The Arable Group (TAG) have joined forces to create a national, independent crop research and information centre.

The integrated group brings together the resources needed to support the development of improved crop varieties and inputs, to evaluate their performance and - through applied agronomy research and farmer communication - to ensure the benefits are transferred effectively into practical agriculture.

“Our vision is to revitalise the R&D pipeline to create the UK’s pre-eminent crop research, trialling and knowledge transfer centre,” said NIAB chief executive Dr Tina Barsby, who will lead the new group.  

“The complementary skills within the two organisations will provide a unique source of research expertise and technical services, with a presence at all levels within the crop production sector.  Extending the capabilities on offer within a single group will also open up exciting new opportunities to attract additional sources of funding, to bid for broader research contracts, to train and recruit new research agronomists and scientists, and to invest for the future.”

The new group will continue to develop its research in genetics, pre-breeding and applied agronomy, complemented by unique strengths in knowledge transfer, demonstration and agronomy information.  It will have its headquarters at NIAB in Cambridge but retain a network of regional offices, with around 200 staff in total.  Combined turnover will be more than £12m from a range of funding sources including membership subscriptions, levy boards, Government, research councils and private sector contracts.  

The TAG brand will be retained by NIAB. Subscription services to TAG members and NIAB Association members will initially remain separate, although both sets of members will start to see benefits from the integrated group immediately as a result of the broader technical expertise on offer and increased local and national trials coverage.  Over time, new opportunities to add value to membership offers and services will be made available.    

“NIAB and TAG are both independent charities whose not-for-profit objective is to promote competitive, productive and sustainable agriculture.  Our organisations share a strong reputation for independence and integrity in providing expert research and information, focused on the needs of progressive farmers and growers,” said Tony Pexton, NIAB Board Chairman.

“A new group combining NIAB’s core skills in plant genetics, pathology, variety evaluation and seed testing with TAG’s strengths in applied agronomy research and farmer communication will be ideally placed to meet the crop research and information needs of UK farmers, allied industries, levy boards, research councils and Government,” he added.

“Working together, NIAB and TAG provide the basis for a reinvigorated connection between the science base and practical agriculture, allowing transfer of research into practice, and providing a clear route for farmer feedback to influence future research priorities and objectives,” said outgoing TAG Chairman Geoff Elliott, who joins the NIAB Board.

For further information contact:
Tony Pexton, NIAB Board Chairman
T: 01377 271063             
M: 07771 513180
E: tonypexton@pextonfarms.co.uk

Dr Tina Barsby, Chief Executive, NIAB
T: 01223 342200
M: 07711 845209
E: tina.barsby@niab.com

Geoff Elliott, TAG Board Chairman
T: 01794 301665
M: 07836 553979
E: geoff.elliott@thearablegroup.com

Stuart Knight, Director, TAG
M: 07974 391722
E: stuart.knight@thearablegroup.com

Issued by:

Daniel Pearsall, Front Foot Communications             
T: 01487 831425     
E: daniel.pearsall@frontfoot.uk.com

Ros Lloyd, Front Foot Communications
T: 07711 568164
E: ros.lloyd@frontfoot.uk.com