Member Showcase

Andrew Blenkiron, P.Agric (FIAgrM)

Andrew Blenkiron, a Fellow of the Institute, is Estate Director for the 4,400ha Euston Estate in Suffolk where he is responsible for the management and development of a rural business comprising 2600ha farmed in hand, 1200ha let farms, 600ha of woodland, as well as a significant involvement in renewables including 13MW of PV and a 2.5MW equivalent gas to grid AD plant.

How does Institute membership help you in your current role?

My current duties are many and varied including all aspects of managing the estate and acting as the estate’s ambassador. I am also involved in Assured Food Standards, the NFU and the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

I have been a member of the Institute for over 30 years. I find membership is invaluable as it provides me with access to a network of like-minded and open-minded people who I can bounce ideas off, can learn from and rely on.

Where do you see yourself being in 5-10 year’s time?

I hope to still be driving the Euston business forward and ensuring that farming is recognised and appreciated by society for its true worth.  Agriculture must continue to work harder to promote the excellent work that farmers do, both producing high quality food and protecting and enhancing the environment.

I believe members of the Institute can be influential in this.  After all, who is better placed and resourced than the highly professional members of the Institute?

How do you get involved with the Institute and how does this benefit you?

I always attend the fantastic annual National Farm Management Conference and get to as many regional and national events as I can as they are excellent opportunities to learn from others, to share challenges and to help provide solutions.

Membership is as important to me now as when I first joined as a young, inexperienced manager because you never stop learning and can learn something from anyone.

Membership has assisted me in my career and given me the opportunity for personal development.  It has given me confidence and some exceptional contacts in the industry.

Robert Gazely, P.Agric (MIAgrM)

Robert Gazely is Senior Associate Director in Strutt and Parker’s Farming Department and Head of farming in Essex and Kent, managing a team of six providing farm management on 20,000 acres, crop management on 28,000 acres and consultancy services on 55,000 acres.

How does institute membership help you in your current role?

In a number of ways.  Attendance at events and being involved as a member of Council creates opportunities for personal development and access to a wide network.  I was previously Chairman of the Mid-Anglia branch and this role helped me develop my skills in leadership and communication.  The Journal helps broaden my understanding while PAgric status is recognition of both industry knowledge and experience.

Where of you see yourself in 5-10 years and how will membership help you reach your goal?

I hope to be working closely with forward-thinking and progressive landowners and farmers to develop sustainable future-proofed businesses, well placed to meet the challenges they will undoubtedly face.

The Institute will help me by providing top quality training and development to broaden and hone my skills, as well as regular access to networking opportunities.  It will also be increasing important in the future to be an active member of a professional and well-respected organisation.

How regularly do you attend regional and national events?

I attend Council meeting three times a year and approximately four branch meetings annually.  I always try to get to the National Farm Management Conference and the National Farm Walk as they are really rewarding days.

What is the biggest benefit of membership?

The opportunity to engage freely with senior stakeholders from across the industry in a supportive environment and to raise my industry profile.

James Miles-Hobbs, MIAgrM CEnv

James has been practicing as a farm business consultant for over 30 years, specialising in renewable energy helping farmers and landowners invest in their own renewable energy projects.

After time as an equity partner with Andersons (The Farm Business Consultants) and with Savills he started his own business in 2004.

Why did you join the Institute?

In joined the Institute in 2004 when I went on my own.  Having been used to working in large consultancy organisations where I have an internal network of colleagues to bounce ideas around with, overnight this had gone.  The Institute provides a diverse network with which I could discuss and share ideas.

What have been the big advantages?

I think the events.  If you are invited to a commercially run event there is always an angle.  The Institute on the other hand just seeks to find the best speakers on the topics and burning issues at the time.  They also provide network opportunities with people in the industry you probably would not come into contact with otherwise.

CPD is also vitally important and the drive to have farm management and consultancy seen as a serious profession.

And looking forward?

The Institute can play a big role in helping equip those involved in farming to meet challenges as they arise and by helping demonstrate best practice.  A good example is the Chartered Environmentalist status because the issues surrounding environmental management will only increase.

Dr. Alison Bailey, FIAgrM

Alison Bailey is Professor of Farm Management and Head of the Department of Land Management and Systems at Lincoln University, New Zealand.  She is responsible for delivery of diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a wide range of agricultural and horticultural related subjects, leading on research in farm management, and is a member of the University Farm Management Committee which includes dairy, hill sheep and beef, and cropping farms.

How does institute membership help you in your current role?

Membership was invaluable for networking and CPD at both local and national levels when I was still in the UK.  Originally I joined as just a member but progressed to being on the journal editorial committee, branch committee and eventually became chair of my local branch.  I still maintain my membership as it is a way to receive information about what is happening in the UK agricultural sector.

I have joined the New Zealand equivalent which provides similar networking opportunities and CPD opportunities as well as running a national conference and producing a journal.

Where of you see yourself in 5-10 years and how will membership help you reach your goal?

Still involved in the teaching and research of farm management in New Zealand. Agriculture will still be a key contributor to the New Zealand economy and I will have a key role in this. Would like this to include a greater involvement in the horticultural sector.

Membership helped me get to New Zealand…so significantly!

How regularly do you attend regional and national events?

Sadly never now, but I was a regular attender at local branch events and the National Farm Management Conference.

What is the biggest benefit of membership?

Undoubtedly networking with a wide range of people from across a diverse industry.

Tom Carr, MIAgrM

Tom is  Farm Manager on the Earl of Plymouth Estate where he looks after a 2000ha privately owned mixed farm encompassing arable, dairy, beef, sheep and pigs in south Shropshire. They currently grow a range of spring and winter crops and supply their farm shop with meat and milk.

How does Institute membership help you in your current role?

The institute keeps me up to date with the latest thinking in the field of farm management and allows me to help influence the future, such as being invited to speak at the farm management lectures conference last year.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years’ time?

Continuing to manage and develop a mixed farming business in order to balance the risks that agriculture may face in the future. Such as the loss of subsidies, changing regulations etc.  Also I want to be driving efficiency through new technology and breeding advancements whilst also manging the land for wildlife and the future generation.

How will membership help you reach this goal?  hat is the biggest benefit to you of membership?

Membership of the Institute will allow me to attend training events that will enhance my skills as a farm manager through the Farm Management Skills Programme.  It will also allow access to farm managers and advisors through regional and national events allowing the transfer of knowledge through networking.

Being young and at the start of my journey through farm management it will be beneficial to have access to the knowledge that the institute and its members have.

How regularly do you attend regional/national events?

As a relatively new member of the institute I have yet to attend many events apart from the Farm Management Lecturers Conference. However I am looking forward to attending more events throughout the year and am told the National Conference is well worth attending.

Adrian Cannon, P.Agric (MIAgrM)

Adrian is a Rural Partner of Tayler & Fletcher, a long established firm of Chartered Surveyors, Property Consultants and Auctioneers based in the North Cotswolds.  As rural partner he undertake a wide variety of work for clients including farm management, BPS, ES applications and farmland sales through to valuations and expert witness work.

How does Institute membership help you in your current role?

As a PAgric I believe that when working with clients Institute membership helps give me a rounded view of what is happening in the industry.  It also provides a valuable forum for advancing agricultural management within the industry.

Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?

Still a Partner of Tayler & Fletcher but with a larger team as we continue to develop and grow and work within the agricultural industry which will be subjected to much change!

How will membership help you?

Within the agricultural industry there will be a growing requirement for professional farmers and advisers and IAgrM will be pivotal in supporting farm management development. The training that is now being offered by the Institute will help to develop the professionalism required.

What is the biggest benefit of membership to you?

Throughout my career the Institute has been a constant support from when I was a farm worker, then farm manager and through to my current role in consultancy. Membership has given me a forum to network and open up opportunities to learn from other professional farmers.  I have also found the papers published in the International Journal of Agricultural Management  both thought provoking and industry leading.

How regularly do you attend regional/national events?

Not as often as I should! Much depends on the event and I must make more of an effort.  The National conference always delivers quality speakers.