Board Member

Mr Robert Lowson

Robert Lowson is a former senior civil servant, working for MAFF and Defra. His posts included Minister in the UK Permanent Representation to the EU, Communications Director and Environment Strategy Director in Defra, and Senior Advisor with the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Professor Ian Puddephat

Ian Puddephat is a crop physiologist with a diverse interest in plant biology, crop breeding and agronomy. He is experienced in leading complex programmes, from discovery to commercial application, and has worked in both academia and industry. He built PepsiCo’s crop science R&D capability in support of the company’s portfolio transformation in their nutrition, beverage and snack foods businesses.

Mr Steve Ellwood

Steve has spent his career in the food and farming sector and now has a number of non executive roles with UK based companies. These include businesses operating in fresh produce, poultry meat, large scale farm management and animal feed production. He is a graduate of Newcastle University and spent a number of years leading HSBC Bank's Agriculture Team. Outside of work he is a fell walker and keen cricket fan and commits a significant amount of time to charity and voluntary work.

Mr John Elliot

John Elliot, qualified as a chartered accountant in Oxford before attending agricultural college and returning to manage the family and estate business. He holds a number of non-executive roles.

Dr Helen Ferrier

Dr Helen Ferrier leads the National Farmers’ Union’s policy work on agricultural science and research, biotechnology, data and food safety, covering all sectors of farming. Based at NFU HQ in Warwickshire, she leads a policy team covering plant health and pesticides, farm safety, skills and training, transport, employment and better regulation.

Mr Richard Butler

Richard joined the family business of R J Butler & Son in 1975 and has been the senior partner since 1983, farming 1,700 acres near Marlborough, Wiltshire. Farm enterprises include a 300 cow holstein dairy herd, a beef cattle fattening unit, and an extensive arable combine crop enterprise specialising in wheat grown for seed and milling as well as malting barley production. Other combinable crops grown include oats, white beans and rapeseed.

Dr Charles Looker

Currently farming in Cambridgeshire, Charles graduated in agricultural science and spent eight years doing postgraduate and postdoctoral research on pulse crops, followed by 12 years helping to bring new varieties of combinable crops to the market. He has also worked for 15 years in information technology, bringing him into contact with a range of business areas including arable farming, retail, tax accountancy and the police.

Mr Andrew Slack

Andrew recently retired as Partner, Head of Land and Rural Business at Grant Thornton, after thirty years of service. Prior to that he worked for the Farm Management Division of the Nickerson Group. He has a degree in Agriculture from Nottingham University and is a Chartered Accountant. Andrew is a member of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the NFU and has served on the Taxation Committees for both organisations. He is a member of the Farmers Club and the Worshipful Company of Farmers. Hobbies include golf, gardening, shooting and fly fishing.

Mr Tony Pexton

Tony was Chairman of the NIAB Board from 2003 to 2012.

He oversees the operation of a family farm in East Yorkshire where pigs are reared from progeny to bacon and wheat, oilseed rape and vining beans are grown. In 2005, he was awarded the OBE for services to agriculture.


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