Six new independent Governors, including one of Britain’s only black farmers, a columnist for the Financial Times, and the head of the Food, Farming, and Countryside Commission (FFCC), have been appointed to the Governing Council of the Royal Agricultural University (RAU).
The new members – property and business consultant Hugh Baker, “The Black Farmer” Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE, FT columnist and woodland owner Joy Lo Dico, UK Health Security Agency director Jason Makepeace, independent agricultural consultant David Morgan, and FFCC Chief Executive and organic farmer Sue Pritchard – were welcomed to the University’s first Governing Council meeting of the year by Dame Fiona Reynolds, who took over as Chair of the Governing Council in January.
Dame Fiona said: “This is a stellar team and, together with the existing governors, we have a vital job to do. I’m delighted to welcome them all to be part of the RAU.”
At the meeting, Dame Fiona also announced that Kim Frost, who has been an independent member of the Governing Council since March 2021, has now been appointed as Deputy Chair. The new Governors join other existing Council members Bob Branson, Dr Catherine MacKenzie, Neil Scott, and Susan Steer, as well as RAU Vice-Chancellor Peter McCaffery, staff Governor Phil Hudson, and a student Governor who is yet to be elected.
Kim Frost said: “I am proud and honoured to be appointed Deputy Chair and I look forward to working with Dame Fiona and my fellow governors, new and existing, to help the University on its journey to even greater success in the future.”
The new team of Governors will work with the RAU’s Executive Group, led by the Vice-Chancellor, to guide the University in fulfilling its role as a leading educator, researcher, and solution-finder at a time of unprecedented change and opportunity for farming, food production, rural land use, and enterprises. As well as attending the Governing Council meeting, the Governors had a tour of the University’s Cirencester campus and met with students and staff.
Hugh Baker said: “Having been a student at what was then the Royal Agricultural College, some time ago now, and having had the benefit of the opportunities that the qualification gave me, it felt like the right time to give something back to ensure that future generations have the same chances as I did.”
Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones said: “Joining the RAU’s Governing Council is a huge honour for me. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with the University on several initiatives previously, including the Young City Farmers Scheme, which has given me the opportunity to help shape the pathways and passions of future British farmers.
“As one of Britain’s only black farmers, my role as Governor will allow me to bring more diversity to the British agricultural industry but also to attract new, fresh blood to it. Our farmers are the lifeblood of British agriculture and I’m fiercely passionate about educating and attracting young people to the industry. My own love for farming began as a boy on my father’s allotment – this sparked the dream of running my own farm which has since grown beyond anything I could have imagined.”