Openfield appoints former Berry Gardens CEO to its Board

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Openfield Group Limited, the British farmer-owned co-operative, has today announced it has strengthened its non-executive management team by appointing, Nicholas Marston to its Board.

Mr Marston oversaw significant growth of the UK berry growers’ co-operative Berry Gardens between 1996 and 2017. In this time the company grew from a turnover of £18 million, with a profit of £100,000, to a turnover of over £340 million and an annual profit of over £10 million. This staggering growth saw the business become one of the UKs largest co-operatives and fresh produce businesses.

“My role at Openfield is a great opportunity to help deliver Openfield’s strategy to grow its market share and improve its supply chain efficiencies,” he said. “It’s really exciting to be working with Britain’s only national grain marketing and arable inputs co-operative and bring my deep understanding and experience of running large scale, successful farmer co-operatives to the team.”

Openfield’s Chairman, Philip Moody added “We recognise that Openfield is a large complex business which needs a variety of skills in our senior leadership team. There will always be a strong farmer presence on our Board, however we are also recognising the need to embrace other expertise. Nicholas’ experience and passion for the UK co-operative sector will play a major role in our next stage of development.”

Since standing down from the full-time role of CEO of Berry Gardens, Mr Marston has maintained his involvement in the British food industry. In addition to his role at Openfield, he serves as Chairman of the UK berry industry trade body British Summer Fruits, as a non-executive director of large-scale berry growers Hugh Lowe Farms, as Chairman of start-up vegetable crisp manufacturer Growers Garden, and as a non-executive director of field vegetable co-operative East of Scotland Growers.

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Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.