The Sentry Conference 2019 - Speakers

/Our Speakers 2019
Our Speakers 20192019-01-25T14:47:27+00:00

RANDALL WILKSCH:
Partner in Wilksch Agriculture

Randall is a business partner in Wilksch Agriculture, a 3650 hectare grain growing business located at Yeelanna and Karkoo on Lower Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. This family owned business grows cereals, pulses, oilseeds and coarse grain for both international and domestic markets. This is in Australia’s medium rainfall zone – with an annual 420mm of rainfall with soil types ranging from red/brown clay loams to nonwetting sands over limestone.

He has been involved since 1998 when the business was a 980 hectare operation. This operation currently employs five [5] full time people with additional labour in the harvest period. It has transitioned through direct-drill to no-till, to controlled traffic and site-specific variable rate fertiliser placement.

Winning a Nuffield Scholarship in 2016 provided him with the opportunity for 16 weeks of international travel to study a topic of ‘Encouraging more women into broadscale agriculture’.

In 2017 the family business won a Syngenta Growth Award for Sustainability.

2018 saw Randall move to a position with GRDC – The Grains Research and Development Corporation, which takes levies from grain growers and invests in and oversees Research, Development and Extension to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability
across the Australian Grains Industry.

WILLIAM KENDALL:
Chairman – Cawston Press

William Kendall is an environmentalist, entrepreneur and Suffolk organic farmer. He ran the New Covent Garden Soup Company for
most of its first 10 years before buying the then tiny Green & Black’s organic chocolate business.

William gained an MA from Cambridge University having studied law at Corpus Christi College. He was called to the Bar by The Middle Temple in 1985. He received an MBA from INSEAD in France in 1989 and enjoyed short careers as an army officer, a barrister and then as an investment banker.

In 1990 he became Managing Director of the New Covent Garden Soup Company which he led for 9 years before selling it to a public company. He subsequently led the acquisition of Green & Blacks which he and partners sold to Cadburys in 2005.

William is the Chairman of British soft drinks business, Cawston Press.

William was born in Cambridge and comes from an East Anglian farming family. He and his wife farm organically at Maple Farm (Kelsale, Suffolk) where they have developed a successful example of local food production and marketing. He is a campaigner for better and more locally produced food.

William writes and lectures on innovation and entrepreneurship in business. He is a founding director of The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival and was Convenor of David Cameron’s (apolitical) Quality of Life Commission on food when he was Leader of The Opposition.

William is a venture investor in early stage food and drink businesses, director of Samworth Brothers on of the UK’s largest manufacturers of food products in the UK and he also farms conventionally in Bedfordshire.

He is actively involved with a number of charities mainly connected with the environment and the arts. He is a trustee of Snape Maltings which produces the world famous Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms, and a Council member of The Suffolk Agricultural Association which lays on The
Suffolk Show. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for Suffolk.

JEANETTE DENNIS:
Partner, Ashton Legal

Jeanette is an agricultural lawyer with over 30 years’ experience acting for East Anglian farmers. She specialises in farming and estate management arrangements for farmers and landed estates, and also public rights of way, farm partnerships, and tenancy reorganisations. Farmland and development deals, advising on bank re-financing, and tax planning and partnership are currently at the top of her caseload.

Having run and worked on the family farm in Norfolk, Jeanette’s experience of farming and agricultural business issues is first hand and gives her a valuable insight into her clients’ legal issues.

With a keen interest in recreational shooting, game conservancy and horses, Jeanette actively combines her rural interests with her professional life. She is currently a member of the Agricultural Law Association; the Cambs and Beds Committee of the CLA; the SAA; the RNAA; the Cambridgeshire Committee of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust; the Special Events Committee of St Nicholas Hospice; and the Farmers Club. Jeanette’s previous accolades have seen her as Council Member of the ALA and as Chairman of the Cambridgeshire branch of the GWCT. She is also now a Trustee of Suffolk FWAG, which is actively supported by Ashtons Legal and a steward at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Jeanette has lectured regionally for various agricultural professionals and ADAS, BIAC, NFU, ISVA, CAAV, Want to Know, and nationally for CLT, IAgSA and AgriLaw.

CHRIS CLAYTON:
Managing Director, Agrovista

After graduating from Newcastle University with a degree in Agriculture, Chris joined ICI and remained with the legacy companies, Zeneca, AstraZeneca and Syngenta for 25 years in a variety of domestic and international commercial roles. He returned to the UK in March 2015 as the MD of Agrovista based in Nottingham.

ANDREW WRAITH:
Food & Farming Director, Savills

Andrew joined Savills in 2005 and now heads up the food and farming team providing business management and consultancy advice to the agricultural industry.

Andrew specialises in the setup, restructuring and management of farming and related businesses. As head of Savills food and farming team, he is responsible for co-ordination of work with other Savills service lines and the provision of analysis and guidance on farming issues both with the company and externally.

In addition to advising the agricultural sector Andrew has a wealth of experience in directly managing rural businesses. He is a partner in a family business in east Yorkshire and is a director of the Green Pea Company, a large scale grower co-operative. He is also a non- executive director of Patrick Dean Ltd a diverse business with operations in Lincolnshire and Perthshire.

DAVID SHEPPARD:
Managing Director, Gleadell

David has worked in the grain trade for 33 years, beginning his career as a grain trader at Kenneth Wilson Leeds before establishing Usborne Grain’s Northern division in 1990.

Usborne North was merged with Gleadell in 1997 where David took over the role of Trading Director in the enlarged business.  In 2005 David became Managing Director of Gleadell Agriculture and developed the company’s strategy of growth .  Over the last 13 years David and his fellow Directors have steered the company to double its size, turning over £400 million, operating from five offices across the country, employing over 135 staff and growing the business’s seed and fertiliser activity significantly.

David is Chairman of Gleadell’s Strategy Committee and has been the Chairman of the AIC’s Arable Marketing Committee and a member of the AIC Board since 2012.

ROGER JOHNSON:
President – National Farmers Union

Roger Johnson is president of the National Farmers Union (NFU), a grassroots organization that represents more than 200,000 family farmers, ranchers, fisherman and rural communities across the Unites States.

Johnson was elected to lead the family farm organisation at NFU’s 107th anniversary convention in 2009. He has since expanded the education department by providing more programs for beginning, college-aged and women farmers, increased the number of Farmers Union state divisions, and developed a strategic plan for the organization. Johnson has also overseen a number of important policy initiatives important to family farmers including: passage of the 2014 Farm Bill; maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and Country-of-Origin Labeling, promoting policies that allow farmers to address the growing threat of climate change; and renewing the nation’s focus on eliminating an overwhelming trade deficit that results in lost jobs and prosperity for rural America.

Prior to leading National Farmers Union, Johnson, a third-generation family farmer from Turtle Lake, N.D., served as North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner, a position he was first elected to in 1996. While Agriculture Commissioner, Johnson served on the State Industrial Commission, the North Dakota Trade Office Advisory Board, and the State Board of Agricultural Research and Education, among many other boards and commissions.

From 2007-2008, Johnson served as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA). He is a past president of the Midwestern Association of State Departments of Agriculture (MASDA), past president of the Food Export Association of the Midwest and a former chairman of the Interstate Pest Control Compact.

Johnson graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural economics. Johnson and his wife, Anita, are the proud parents of a daughter and two sons and have three grandchildren.

PETER THOMPSON: Biodiversity Officer and Advisor – Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Peter is the Trust’s Biodiversity advisor, giving advice to farmers and land managers across England on practical methods of implementing conservation programmes developed by the Trust’s Farmland Ecology Unit. He is BASIS qualified and spent ten years advising farmers on agronomy before joining the GWCT in 1988. He sits on numerous committees including Defra’s Species Delivery Group and Arable Expert Group. He has recently been busy setting up “Farmer Clusters” across the country to encourage land managers to work together on a landscape scale, rather than as individuals on separate holdings. He is also the Hampshire coordinator for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.