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McCain awarded ‘best potato industry host’ by future leaders

13 April 2016


Delegates of AHDB’s first ever Next Generation Programme overwhelmingly voted McCain Foods as their ‘Best Industry Host’, presenting the award at their final session at AHDB Headquarters, Stoneleigh Park, last month.

Matthew Stubbings, trainee fieldsperson for McCain Foods (GB) Ltd (also on the programme as a delegate himself), accepted the award on behalf of the company at the concluding day of the course on 7 March.

AHDB’s Next Generation Programme was launched in 2015 with the aim of developing the future leaders of the Great British potato industry through exposure to all areas of the supply chain.

Looking back over the series of 9 technically-focussed industry visits over the past year, the delegates rated the programme as valuable, engaging and thought-provoking overall. 100% stated they were on board to continue being an ambassador and spokesperson on industry issues going forwards.

On receiving the award in-hand back at GB Headquarters in Scarborough, Graham Finn, agricultural policy advisor for McCain Foods and AHDB skills champion said, “We’re delighted that the delegates found their time at McCain of interest and that it had such an impact.

“Dynamic and vibrant, the potato industry is both technologically advanced and environmentally responsible with attractive and rewarding career prospects, offering a wide range of talents and skills.

 “We strongly support the Next Generation initiative which serves to nurture and encourage talented individuals to step up and continue to drive the industry forwards, and ultimately ensure the £4.8bn GB potato industry remains competitive and sustainable in the long-term.

“If the programme is to deliver real value, then all participants, delegates and hosts have to give it 100%, and we’re glad to hear that came across when we gave the processing perspective in Scarborough last June.”

“I feel very fortunate that I was able to be involved in the programme,” reflected Patrick Elliott, a farmer's son growing 220 acres of potatoes for I D & F K Elliott in Pembrokeshire.

“It was definitely a valuable experience for young entrants like myself, providing new information and inspiration for how to make our businesses more successful.

“I have come away really motivated and looking forward to what the future brings.”

The programme also offered a forum for networking.

“It’s been a real opportunity to meet like-minded individuals with a clear passion for potatoes. It’s allowed us to come together to share our challenges but also our ideas for progression,” affirmed Bryonie Cundy, field manager for Nene Potatoes in Lincolnshire.

The successful programme commences its second year on 20 May at AHDB in Warwickshire with 15 fresh, up-and-coming industry innovators who came through a highly competitive video application process to be awarded a place on the programme.

‘Next’ up:

  • Adam Lidstone (A J Lidstone & Son)
  • Alistair Neill (Greenvale AP Ltd)
  • Andrew Johnston (Albanwise Ltd)
  • Annabel Hamilton (Patrick Dean Ltd)
  • Dave Lee (Family farm, Yorkshire)
  • Edward Backhouse (C S Backhouse)
  • Jay Handley (McCain Foods (GB) Ltd)
  • Jimmy Dagg (Family farm, Scottish Borders)
  • Jonah Ehmann (Greenseed/Spearhead International)
  • Josh Thomson (Ibbotsons Produce)
  • Katherine McCloy (AKP Limited)
  • Nick Crow (Cherrington Farm)
  • Richard Wilson (R S Cockerill Ltd)
  • Steven Bell (Albert Bartlett)
  • Will Brice (Frederick Hiam)

- Ends -


For more information:

Helen Williams, AHDB Potatoes Communications Executive,, 024 7647 8662


Notes to editors:

  • The Next Generation programme aims to develop the future leaders of the GB Potato industry through exposure to all areas of the supply chain.
  • The first year of the programme consisted of a series of 9 days of visits covering the following topics: Mini-tuber production; selecting, sourcing and exporting seed; the fresh supply chain; potato processing; potato handling and engineering technology; storage; long-term investment; political awareness; and the scale of the supply chain.
  • The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a Non-Departmental Public Body funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain through statutory levies. It is managed as an independent organisation. Its purpose is to equip levy payers with independent, evidence based information and tools to grow, become more competitive and sustainable.
  • The ‘AHDB Potatoes’ brand serves to highlight AHDB work and resources that help make the British potato industry more sustainable, competitive and profitable, and stimulate use of the GB potato crop in home and export markets (
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