Mike Sheldon announced as new AHDB Pork chairman

Red Tractor chairman Mike Sheldon has been appointed as the new chairman of AHDB Pork, replacing Meryl Ward, whose two-year term finished at the end of March.

Mr Sheldon, a former chief executive of the National Pig Association, is a director and proprietor of a wine importing and online retail business.He is chairman of the Real Welfare Steering Group for pigs in the UK  and is a non-executive director of Assured Food Standards, as well as chairing its pig sector board.

From 1982 to 1996, he worked for pig genetics company, PIC, taking on various roles from production manager for the UK to marketing Mmanager for Europe, before leaving to set up his own farrow-to-finish pig production company which he ran for 18 years.

Mr Sheldon said: “I am very pleased to be joining the AHDB Board at this important time and to also be leading the Pork Sector Board. I am passionate about British farming, food and drink and I believe that AHDB can deliver a difference for UK agriculture as we manage our way through Brexit and into a new trading environment.”

AHDB chairman Sir Peter Kendall said he was delighted to welcome Mr Sheldon to the AHDB Board alongside Sophie Churchill, who has been appointed as chair of the potatoes sector board.

He said: “They join at a significant time for AHDB as we look to deliver a fresh strategy to inspire the food and farming industry to respond to the challenges of Brexit and changing domestic and international markets.”

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “We welcome the appointment of Mike Sheldon as chairman of AHDB Pork.

“We know Mike well as a former chief executive of NPA and through his leadership of the Red Tractor pork board, where he has always sought to balance the requirements of the scheme with the needs of producers. We look forward to working with him on the big issues facing the industry.”

Their appointments take effect from April 10 for three years. The appointments have been made jointly by Ministers in Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for Northern Ireland.

Sir Peter thanked Mrs Ward for her ‘great contribution to the work of the Board during this period of change and the passion and thoughtful energy she put into the role’.

Other new board members

Mr Sheldon is joined by three other new board members, Robert Beckett, Rick Buckle and Robert Mutimer.

Yorkshire pig producer Robert Beckett runs a multisite indoor breed-to-finish pig business. He is the son of a Shropshire farmer, where he started off as a stockman, progressing through all levels of management to his current position of joint managing director. He has been involved in the pig industry for more than 25 years. He is a director of Thames Valley Cambac and sits on the PHWC Welfare committee and Real Welfare review group.

Rick Buckle returned to the family farm in 1992 after completing an NDA at Bishop Burton College of Agriculture. The family partnership owns, rents, and contract farms more than 5,000 acres of arable land in East Yorkshire. He runs the pig enterprise on the farm which consists of a 1050 sow farrow to finish indoor unit finishing all progeny on site, all feed is home mixed. Mr Buckle and his team were the winners of the 2015 National Pig Awards Producer of the Year.

After graduating from Harper Adams in 1995 with a BSc in Agri Food Marketing Robert Mutimer joined the family mixed farming business in north Norfolk. He and his wife Helen currently run 750 outdoor sows with indoor straw-based finishing, producing pigs for the Waitrose supply chain. They have developed Swannington Farm to Fork, a wholesale and retail butchery with business with two shops and 200 wholesale customers in Norfolk and North Suffolk. He is a board member of the National Pig Association and has been on the producer group for the past two years.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.