Appointment of East Anglian potato grower to champion new techniques postponed

From left, David Wilson (AHDB), James Foskett, Mike Shapland & Michael Welham (AHDB Potato Board mem

From left, David Wilson (AHDB), James Foskett, Mike Shapland & Michael Welham (AHDB Potato Board member) Picture: AHDB - Credit: Archant

The appointment of a new Strategic Farm East farm host to take UK potato growing to greater heights has been postponed.

James Foskett Farms, based at Bromeswell, near Woodbridge, was chosen to host the new Strategic Potato Farm East, starting on April 1.

The farm was earmarked to take up where potato farmer Andrew Francis, farms director at the Elveden Estate, near Thetford, left off in working out ways to grow the crop more successfully by embracing new technologies and thinking under a scheme run by levy-payers’ organisation the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

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But AHDB said: “AHDB Potatoes have had to postpone the start date of James Foskett Farms as the new Strategic Farm East host.”

An AHDB spokesman said in the short term the farm wouldn’t be taking up the position, which was set to run for six years rather than three, as in the case of the previous project at Elveden.

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James Foskett Farms is a family-owned business on predominantly sandy loam soils. It farms 900ha, growing crops including onions, cereals and sugar beet. It also has an organic enterprise comprising carrots, butternut squash, green peas, onions and carrots.

Farm manager Mike Shapland, who was Farmers Weekly’s Farm Manager of the Year in 2018, said it had been postponed because of an ongoing issue on-farm.

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