CUPGRA will continue to strengthen its membership and bring together stakeholders in the UK potato industry to identify and support potato research that members are keen to see performed but unable to do by themselves.
CUPGRA will help fund short and long-term independent potato research, which has robust deliverables that will provide members with information to inform management practices.
CUPGRA will provide its members many diverse opportunities to gain experience of the most up-to-date potato research.
MEET THE TEAM
Professor Tina Barsby OBE
Tina is Honorary Professor of Agricultural Botany at the University of Cambridge. She retired from her position as Chief Executive at NIAB in September 2021, being appointed in 2008 as the first female CEO in the Institute’s 90-year history. Tina has extensive experience in plant biotechnology and applied plant science, spanning both academic and commercial research in the agricultural crop sector, including 18 years with the plant breeder Groupe Limagrain.
Graduating with a degree in French and Spanish, Sophie joined the MDS GraduateTrainee Scheme, working in the fresh produce industry. She then spent seven years working for Barfoots before returning to Norfolk to join B&C Farming. A steep learning curve (which continues) later, Sophie runs the side of the business focusing on potato production, storage and sales along with haulage.
James is a partner in EG Harrison & Co and HDF Farming Ltd, a family run farming & contract farming business based in north east Norfolk growing cereals, oilseed rape, grass seed, sugar beet, vining peas and potatoes. The potato enterprise produces processing and seed potatoes supplying Lamb Weston Meijer, Kettle Foods & Albert Bartlett.
He has an interest in a Hungarian farming operation Szelekta KFT and is a director of the tourism operation Woodland Holiday Park. He is vice chair of CUPGRA and sits on the working group of GB Potatoes.
CUPGRA Deputy chair
David has a life long interest in innovation and the application of science.
He had a 39 year career with Greens of Soham Ltd, which included MD roles with Greenseed International Ltd and Spearhead Marketing Ltd, producing and supplying annually 40,000 t of seed & salad potatoes and 150,000 t of processing potatoes to packers, processors and growers.
In 2016 he started his own consultancy, providing services in the evaluation and development of potato and specialist cropping business, mentoring and project management.
Graeme is an independent potato agronomist and director of Provenance Potatoes. He began his career in potatoes while studying for an H.N.D in Agricultural Business. This led to a placement within the potato field team at Fenmarc Produce Ltd in 1988. After qualifying, he joined Saphir Produce Ltd in 1991 becoming technical manager and also at the same time his involvement with CUPGRA started. He continued working within the potato agronomy sector, currently a CUPGRA exec. council member and is co-owner and a director of Provenance Potatoes ltd. based in the South East.
Business Manager at Produce Solutions James is a fourth generation “potato man” being brought up on the family farm in the West Midlands. He spent 12 years as a broad-acre agronomist before joining Greenvale as a Senior Potato Agronomist in 2001. James has subsequently had 20 years of potato supply chain experience across fresh retail and processing sectors and manages the “Produce Solutions” potato agronomy and trials business – part of the Greenvale and Produce Investments family of companies.
James is a farmer’s son from Suffolk who studied agriculture at Wye College. After graduating he joined G’s and then moved to MBM, gaining BASIS and FACTS, specialising in potato production and then moved onto Greenvale AP. He is now Managing Director and agronomist at East Suffolk Produce, a grower group based in East Suffolk and North Essex. The Group produces 65,000 t of ware potatoes and ca 5,000 t of seed.
Debbie Winstanley has a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Wales. She is a Governor of Harper Adams University and was awarded a Fellowship by the Royal Agricultural Society in 2022. She was a commercial farm agronomist in northwest England for 20 years before working on potato agronomy at Cambridge University Farm. Debbie has worked for both Co-op Retail and Sainsbury’s in technical management for fresh produce and was the UK agronomist for PepsiCo. She sits on the steering group of the Allerton Project, a charity that champions biodiversity, and PRIF, the UK Government’s Expert Committee for Pesticide Residues in Food.
Kate is the first point of contact for CUPGRA on administration and membership services, alongside being part of the NIAB Potatoes team at Cambridge.
NIAB Head of Farming Systems
Dr Elizabeth Stockdale
Elizabeth has over 25 years applied soil and nutrient management research experience and has engaged with a wide range of research projects connected with the study of nutrient cycling in soils and with the environmental impact of farming systems. At the smallest scale she has applied isotope dilution techniques to investigate mineralisation, immobilisation and nitrification processes. Most recently she has been very active in developing farmer-focussed approaches to measurement of soil health and developing on-farm toolkits for improved soil management. She joined NIAB in 2017 as Head of the integrative interdisciplinary farming systems research team, including the potato department.
NIAB Research Development Manager - Potatoes
Peter joined NIAB in 2022 and leads the development of the organisation’s potato agronomy research and industry partnerships, technical services and consultancy activities, with a focus on the practical application of research outputs from across the organisation. This includes NIAB's potato knowledge exchange programme, including training and meetings/conferences, as well as in the delivery of demonstrations at events, trials sites and on-farm.
Crop Science Centre
Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker
Sebastian is Head of Plant-Parasite/Pathogen Interactions Group at the Crop Science Centre in Cambridge, the inaugural CUPGRA Fellow and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow. The overarching theme of his research is to combine genomics and molecular biology to understand fundamental questions in host:parasite biology. His group primarily focus on plant-parasitic nematodes because they are a threat to food security in developed and developing countries, and underlying this threat is a wealth of fascinating biology that until very recently has been largely unexplorable.