FIONA FELL has been appointed to the board of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) with immediate effect.

Mrs Fell, who lives in Northumberland, will also chair the AHDB’s Potato Council on which she has sat for six years as an independent member and has acted as interim chairman following the death of former chairman David Piccaver, late last year.

Mrs Fell, who is married to Hugh Fell, chairman of the George F White group of rural land agents in Yorkshire and the North-East, said: “Being appointed chairman of Potato Council gives me the opportunity to work even more closely with the team to address the needs of levy payers as they meet the challenges and opportunities facing the potato industry.

“Our role is to provide support to improve production, assist the industry in promoting potatoes and to protect the reputation of the sector.

“I was brought up in a farming family that believed in the importance of gaining and sharing knowledge.

In my wider role on the AHDB board, I look forward to using my broad agricultural and veterinary background while working with colleagues across the different AHDB sectors.”

Mrs Fell trained and worked as a vet in a mixed practice for a number of years while a partner in her family’s farm in Worcestershire. Until recently she was a non-executive director of The Moredun Foundation and The Moredun Research Institute, which exists to prevent and control infectious diseases of livestock through research.

She chaired the Institute’s audit committee and was involved in improving standards of corporate governance and reporting. Mrs Fell has also chaired the R&D Committee for AHDB’s potato division.

John Godfrey, out-going AHDB chairman, said he was delighted with the appointment.

He said: “Fiona has already helped to drive AHDB forward since the sad death of David Piccaver and I fully expect her considerable experience and passion for the industry to make a real contribution to the overall direction of AHDB as we help our levy payers through the years ahead.”

At the Potato Council’s recent meeting Mrs Fell thanked outgoing board members Tony Bambridge, Tim Papworth and Nick Tapp.

She said: “It has been a privilege to work with such knowledgeable and committed individuals. We all joined the board together six years ago. This period has been a crucial time for Potato Council as we became established at Stoneleigh and adapted to being within AHDB.

“It is fantastic that we are able to find and welcome new, enthusiastic council members who are willing to engage with fellow levy payers, take stock of their needs and keep our strategies on track.”

Four new faces have joined the board: Staffordshire potato grower James Daw, who grows for the processing sector; Bill Quan, a grower from Herefordshire; Mark Taylor a director of Agrimarc; and Philip Huggon, independent board member of Seafish who has experience from marketing, strategy and business development roles across Europe with BP, Mars and Shell.