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Next Generation 2018/19: from the field to film

14 February 2019

It’s been an eventful year for AHDB’s 2018/19 Next Generation group. Following a tough season out on the field, there’s also been plenty to do off it.

With a number of visits to packers, processors, research labs and industry events, it’s been an educational tour up and down the UK for our 15 potato enthusiasts.

One Show fame for Tom Macfarlane

One highlight in particular saw South Lincolnshire grower, Tom Macfarlane, appear on BBC’s The One Show in December. Tom’s first screen appearance saw him explain to consumers that, due to the diverse weather experienced last season, they might see some smaller spuds in their pre-pack bags.

Tom, pictured above, starred in a positive piece for the industry, featuring interviews with shoppers and retailers too, that ended with presenter Chris Bavin confirming that, whatever the size of potato – they would still “taste great”!

Seed Industry video project

On-screen stardom didn’t stop there. At November’s Seed Industry Event (SIE) at St Andrews, Scotland, the group were set a video task to capture their findings from workshops on aphids, blackleg, Safe Haven and Red Tractor, and trade and business.

The group was split into teams who each had to find creative ways to present their subject in a three-minute video, all of which were uploaded onto the AHDB Potatoes YouTube channel and judged on technical content.

While some followed a well-structured interview style, some decided to think outside of the box and created some entertaining footage, which followed the story of a potato.

You can view the videos here.

Star of stage and screen

Finally, one of the group even took the stage at the SIE and presented in front of all 160 delegates. Abi Ewen, pictured right, a trainee seed breeder from Cygnet PB, presented the views of Next Generation participants past and present – who were asked what they believed would be the key driver for change in the industry.

Abi presented the case for putting the consumer and taste first and for focusing on the environment and sustainability – the two most popular options put forward by the 45-strong group.

One thing’s for sure, if the performance for this year’s group is anything to go by, there is no shortage of talent coming through to guide the potato industry into the future.

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