Nicholas Saphir appointed as new chair of AHDB

Defra has appointed Nicholas Saphir, who has helped build the organic dairy co-operative OMSCo over the past 18 years, as the new chair of AHDB.

Mr Saphir begins a three-year term on April 1, taking over from Sir Peter Kendall who steps down after six years in the role at the end of March.

The appointment was made by Defra Secretary George Eustice and approved by Ministers in the Scottish Government and Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

Mr Saphir has a wide background in agriculture and horticulture, having built a public company farming, processing and trading fruit and vegetables in the UK, Europe, Southern Africa and South America.

His has spent the last 18 years building the Organic Milk Producers’ Cooperative (Omsco) into the world’s second largest dedicated organic milk cooperative with exports of cheese, butter and infant formula grade milk powders to the USA, EU and Australasia.

He has chaired various industry and government bodies, including the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Cooperation, and was founder chairman of Food from Britain. He has been president of the Fresh Produce Consortium and chairman of the Agricultural Forum.

Mr Saphir will receive a non-pensionable remuneration of £55,000 per annum, based on a minimum time commitment of 104 days per year.

Defra Farming Minister Victoria Prentis, said: “Nicholas Saphir has a wealth of experience in the food and farming industry, with a diverse understanding of marketing and trade across a variety of sectors.

“I am confident he will provide the AHDB with strong leadership, clear vision and enthusiasm as the sector enters a time of change.

“I’d also like to thank Peter Kendall for his dedication to the AHDB, and the sector as a whole, over the past six years.”

Mr Saphir, said: “I’m delighted to be involved with AHDB at this pivotal time of change for UK agriculture and horticulture. The AHDB has a vital role to play in helping to equip farmers, growers and processors to make the most of the opportunities and tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”

AHDB Chief Executive, Jane King, said: “Nicholas brings a wealth of agricultural and commercial experience which will be invaluable to helping AHDB strengthen its role during a significant time of change for industry. Myself and the AHDB team are really looking forward to working with him.”

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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.