HCR Law Events

10 June 2022

AgriTech zone: Meet the speakers – Friday 17 June

Sponsored by Agri-EPI Centre, our three-day AgriTech zone will provide information for young and older minds alike; from how to ‘shepherd’ robotic herds to how to stay cyber-safe in an increasingly digital world. Please click HERE to see the programme for Friday 17 June.

Hear from our speakers including:


Claire Hodge, Head of Crops, Agri-EPI Centre

Claire Hodge, Head of Crops at Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation (Agri-EPI) Centre. The centres’ purpose is to accelerate the research, development and adoption of precision agriculture and engineering technology. Working on projects with farmers to sustainably boost productivity, reduce emissions and increase profitability across the whole agri-food chain.

Claire’s role is to develop and lead the implementation of the organisation’s strategy for crops (especially high value crops), fruit and vegetables. Working closely with farmers across the UK to develop and test new technology in a commercial environment.

Claire has an in-depth knowledge and experience of the crop sector, and wide network connections. Based at Agri-EPI’s Southern Hub in Cranfield, she works both nationally and internationally and plays an especially important role in expanding the activities of Agri-EPI’s satellite farm network.

After graduating from Newcastle University in 2005 with a degree in Agriculture, Claire worked on farms in New Zealand before joining Greenvale AP in 2006. It was here that she was introduced to the opportunities within the potato industry. Taking on various roles in procurement, trading, agronomy and factory production, she learnt about the challenges of the cycles in potato production.

Claire joined the Potato Council, now AHDB, in 2012, working in Scotland with industry, levy payers and key stakeholders to help growers improve farm efficiency. Claire has a passion for travel and learning and has recently completed a Nuffield scholarship which has taken her across the world to look at potato production systems.

Adam Henson, farmer, author and Countryfile presenter

Adam Henson is perhaps the best-known farmer in the UK, presenting his own section on BBC’s Countryfile to millions of viewers each Sunday evening. But farming and conservation are Adam’s first passions and when the camera stops rolling, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Bryn Thomas, Regulatory solicitor in Wales and the Wye Valley

Bryn Thomas, Partner and Farmer, HCR

Bryn’s family farm is in the Brecon Beacons where he runs a herd of pedigree suckler cows.

When not farming he provides legal advice to farmers, landowners and rural businesses on a wide range of agricultural disputes bringing his first-hand experience, of the practical challenges and problems faced, into the legal advice he provides.

His experience includes contentious agricultural practice, particularly farm partnership disputes, boundary and right of way matters, contentious probate, trespass, nuisance, harassment and regulatory prosecutions. He also acts in the County Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, dealing with civil applications in the Magistrates Court and appeals in the Crown Court relating to the revocation, refusal and renewal of firearms and shotgun certificates.

Denise Wilkinson, Head of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, HCR

Working with clients whose business is often inextricable from their family lives, I know how important it is to truly understand how they and their business works so that I can give them the practical and strategic advice they need.

From farmers, estate owners and managers to a range of landowners including individuals and charities, I support my clients by ensuring that their future can be secured and that they achieve the best possible outcome.

Sarah Carr, Head of Farm 491, Royal Agricultural University

Sarah leads Farm491, building out partnerships, R&D and commercial initiatives to help grow the UK’s AgriTech ecosystem and promote the adoption of new technologies in the future of food production. She often mentors early-stage AgriTech start-ups through programmes such as Thrive by SVG Ventures and has partnered up with EIT Food as part of their 2021 Seedbed programme. Previously Innovation Specialist at Farm491, Sarah has vast experience in supporting AgriTech entrepreneurs by providing one-to-one business support, as well as delivering sessions on business strategy, investment readiness and sector specific topics. She has a specific interest in technologies that encourage farmer empowerment and environmental sustainability.

Florian Richter, Owner of Muddy Machines

Florian’s family runs a large farm in Portugal, and grew up in Lower Saxony, Germany’s main Asparagus region. He has worked at Google, SumUp, and Bookatable. As a serial entrepreneur he has founded and scaled several B2B and SaaS companies in various sectors and raised over £4m in funding previously.

James Wright, Product Manager at Breedr

Product manager for Breedr. Farmer in West Sussex. Cabinet Member for Environment and Rural Affairs. Can normally be found in fields with farmers #AgTech #NetZero

Mark Tufnell, President of the CLA

Mark trained as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse and owns, and manages, a traditional estate in the Cotswolds.
The farm is mainly arable incorporating key conservation measures for wildlife and enhancing biodiversity. It is part of the Jordans Farm Partnership and a member of LEAF Marque. In addition, there are a number of residential properties and commercial lets. Mark has been actively involved in the CLA for over 20 years at branch and regional level, then chairing the Business and Rural Economy committee, Agriculture & Land Use committee and latterly the Taxation committee an is currently President.

Penelope Bossom, Managing Partner of Overbury Enterprises

Penelope is the Managing Partner of Overbury Enterprises, which has a 1,590 Ha in-hand farming operation on the Worcestershire Gloucestershire border. In 2012 she encouraged Overbury’s farm manager Jake Freestone to do a Nuffield Scholarship to increase the arable efficiency. This lead to becoming an early UK adopter of what is now known as Regenerative Agriculture.Penelope believes technology has been, and continues to play, a big part in the evolution of the farm and other enterprises. She has campaigned for rural connectivity, getting local ADSL in 2003 and Overbury’s own full fibre connectivity in 2013.Overbury Enterprises is an Agri-EPI Satellite farm for trialing new ideas and innovations. It is a member of Agritech E for being connected to a wide range of other tech and farming businesses.Overbury was the recipient of the 2009 RASE Bledisloe Gold Medal for Landowners and Penelope is a member of Council of Three Counties Agricultural Society.

John Chinn, Cobrey Farms

The Chinn family have been farming since 1925 when Wilfred Chinn, John’s grandfather, took on the tenancy of 125 acres. Since then, the business, Cobrey Farms has grown to include 975 acres and the family also rents an additional 1500 acres to supply demand for its premium quality English grown asparagus and other crops. These include beans, blueberries and rhubarb. John has over 45 years of growing experience and industry insight. He was previously the Chairman of CHAP (Centre for Crop Health and Protection).

Dr Julie Ingram, Professor of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture, Country & Community Research Institution

Julie Ingram is Professor of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture at CCRI. Her main research interests are concerned with innovation, knowledge exchange and learning in agriculture in the context of sustainable agriculture and natural resource protection, with particular reference to soil. She works across science and practice on interdisciplinary research projects. Some examples of her recent research include: upscaling of perennial biomass crops, the implications of digitalisation in agriculture, post-covid knowledge exchange in agriculture, farmer networking and zero-till, and farmers’ collaborative agri-environment working at landscape scale.

Tom Bradshaw, NFU Vice President

Tom Bradshaw was appointed Deputy President of the National Farmers’ Union in February 2022. Tom farms in partnership with his wife, Emily, and his parents in North Essex. Alongside a small owned farm they run a larger contract farming business growing a range of combinable crops across 950 hectares in North East Essex.
The home farm is based around arable production but has also diversified into equestrian and renewables.
Tom has represented the NFU from Local Branch Chairman through to Chair of the National Combinable Crops Board.

Anna Jones, BBC Countryfile

I have been 19 years a journalist and all my life a farmer’s daughter.  I tell stories about agriculture, the environment and the relationship between urban and rural communities.  My first book ‘Divide‘ was published by Kyle Books in March 2022.

I’m also a freelance TV producer/director, radio producer/presenter, writer, blogger, Nuffield Farming Scholar and public speaker.

Before taking the decision to go freelance in 2018, I covered rural affairs at the BBC; directing BBC One’s Countryfile, producing and presenting Radio 4’s Farming Today, On Your Farm and Costing the Earth and reporting on agricultural issues for BBC News and the World Service. I write for various publications, ranging from trade press to national newspapers and magazines. I still occasionally work for the BBC in a freelance capacity.

I believe farming and rural issues deserve more attention and greater understanding in the mainstream media. I do my bit through good storytelling, thought-provoking journalism and enabling people at the grassroots of agriculture to share their own stories through my charitable communications project Just Farmers.

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About the Author
Denise Wilkinson, Partner, Head of Agriculture and Estates Team

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