Farmcare boosts potato division with senior agronomist appointment

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Farmcare – the UK’s leading farming business – has appointed Phil Britton as senior potato agronomist and technical manager. A key addition to the team, Phil’s expertise and potato farming strategies are set to exert considerable influence over the quality and variety of potatoes stocked on supermarket shelves across the country, as far ahead as the next decade.

With a career that spans 20 years specialising in potato agronomy and a raft of impressive qualifications including a Masters in organic farming, Phil’s appointment is a major coup for Farmcare, whose future lies firmly in championing innovation in farming. Moving to the company after eight years in a senior position at Manor Fresh, Phil’s professional history also includes roles at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Cambridge University Farm, Gilman Potatoes, and Greenvale (AP).

Phil will be responsible for managing new product development and providing technical guidance across Farmcare’s potato operations. From growing to harvesting and packing, Farmcare provides a fully integrated supply chain. Underscoring its strategy for expansion from solid foundations, the company is set to implement a detailed R&D potato programme, developing demand through the use of innovative technological advancements.

Dividing his time between Farmcare’s growing operations: Goole Estate in Yorkshire, Coldham Estate in Cambridgeshire, Southesk Estate in Angus and Monkton Hill in Ayrshire, Phil will also oversee Farcmare’s network of potato growers across the UK. The role is instrumental in securing product quality for this specialist crop – over the long term – and will encompass everything from planning production, to monitoring soil conditions, planting, growing, harvesting, and developing storage strategies.

With provenance a central issue for retailers and their customers, Phil will play an important role in Farmcare’s promise to provide a simple and transparent ‘first mile’ for potatoes.

Commenting on his new position, Phil said: ”I’m extremely excited about joining Farmcare – helping to drive forward the business, as well as getting my boots muddy again on the farms’ wonderful Grade 1, silt soil! There’s a fantastic shared vision at Farmcare which along with its well resourced, well run farms and unique integrated supply chain, makes for a strong long-term future.

”Devising a strategy that will see Farmcare expand production and maximise efficiency – all alongside a true appreciation for the land we work on – is high on my agenda. I’m looking forward to the combined challenge of being involved with the nitty gritty of growing as well as the commercial aspects such as the impact on our customers of striving for the very best in quality, variety and supply.”

Chief Executive of Farmcare, Richard Quinn, said: ”We’re delighted to have Phil on board. His management skills, hands-on knowledge and experience within the potato sector make him a great asset to the Farmcare team: exactly what we need to ensure our potato division goes from strength to strength. We see ourselves as custodians of the land we farm and Phil is key in ensuring that hundreds of years from now we pass on that land in a better condition than when we started farming it. There are plenty of developments in the pipeline that combine innovation in farming with sensitivity for our land. This is an exciting time for Farmcare and we’re looking forward to delivering on our 2015 objectives.”

Farmcare grows, harvests and packs potatoes for the retail, wholesale and food service sectors. Potatoes represent around 44% of the business’ arable division and Farmcare also farms a wide variety of fruit and vegetables on its 20,000 hectares.

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