Committee Members
Professor Mike Coffey
President

Mike is a professor in livestock informatics at Scotlands Rural College based in Edinburgh. He manages a team of about 20 consisting Edinburgh Genetic Evaluation Services (EGENES) and the Animal Breeding and Genomics team. Mike is interested in new breeding tools for farmed livestock and the new developments in machine learning and phenotyping that allows animal changes for new and novel traits such as product quality, health and efficiency. Mostly he enjoys working with industry in making it all work and deliver benefits right now.

Dr Karen Wonnacott
Chair

Karen has spent her life in and around agriculture, she was brought up on a small, family-run farm in Devon which has helped to provide her with a good grounding in understanding the challenges that can face livestock producers and has made her incredibly passionate about agriculture and the countryside.  She gained a BSc. (Hons) in Animal Science from University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington and stayed on to study for a PhD investigating ‘Fatty acid uptake in the ruminant ovary and pre-implantation embryo’. From Nottingham, she worked as a Research and Development Manager for DairyCo (now AHDB Dairy). In 2011 she moved to BOCM PAULS (now ForFarmers) as a National Ruminant Technical Manager. Karen began working for Crediton Milling Company (CMC) in 2018, a family-run, customer-led, animal feed company as a Ruminant Nutritionist. Karen is an integral part of the Company’s Technical Team providing technical support and training for the Sales Team. Karen thoroughly enjoys being part of the British Cattle Breeders Club and finds that the Conference provides a fantastic forum for relevant, factual debate and information for all cattle producers and industry alike, as well as providing a brilliant networking opportunity for all.  Karen, her husband Richard and their three lovely, young children live in the middle of nowhere in Devon!

Amy Hughes
Vice Chair

Amy is a beef and sheep farmer’s daughter from North Yorkshire. Having qualified as a veterinary nurse, she has spent most of her career in cattle breeding working as a Reproductive Management Systems technician for Genus ABS before moving onto Embryo Transfer and IVF work at a vet practice in Gloucestershire.  Amy joined AHDB Beef & Lamb 2 years ago and is the Knowledge Exchange Manager for the Midlands but also focusses on suckler AI, beef from the dairy herd and beef breeding.  Amy has a great passion for transferring the latest research and advancements in cattle fertility and breeding into practical changes on farm.  Amy is married to Sean, a farm vet based in Shropshire and have 2 young children.

Heidi Bradbury
Secretary

Heidi was born and bred in Derbyshire and grew up on the family’s dairy farm. She was an enthusiastic member of her local Young Farmer’s Club for many years.  Heidi has worked within the agricultural industry for nearly 20 years including working for a Milk Quota broker, as a Dairy Farm Assurance assessor and more recently as a farm secretary for a herd of 100 milking pedigree Holsteins.  

Heidi and her partner have 2 young children and live on a small holding in the Peak District, she continues her farm secretarial duties as well as running the BCBC office.

Andy Dodd
Treasurer

Coming from a non-agricultural background, Andy initially gained dairy experience on a number of farms in North Yorkshire before graduating from Harper Adams in 2000 with a degree in Agriculture with Land and Farm Management. He continued on farm after completing his degree, initially as Head Herdsman in Yorkshire and then as a Dairy Farm Manager in Herefordshire where he was responsible for day-to-day management, staffing and budgeting on a large mixed dairy and arable farm.  Andy joined AHDB Dairy as an Extension Officer in 2009 and has been Technical Manager for Breeding and Fertility since 2014, leading on delivery of the Calf to Calving Initiative for which he was awarded the Innovation in Agriculture team award in December 2017.

Andy is married with three young children and lives in the market town of Newent in Gloucestershire. In February 2018, he joined WhiteAvon Consultancy, part of the Farm Consultancy Group as a Dairy Farm Consultant. Since joining in 2010, he has found BCBC an invaluable source of information on current and future issues for UK farmers and a great opportunity to meet likeminded people from the industry and farming.

Clive Brown
Past Chairman

Clive is the son of a herdsman so has been around cattle all his life but decided milking cows wasn’t for him and instead focused on the beef sector.  He was very active in YFC and was County Chairman for Shropshire.  He enjoyed considerable success in the stock-judging arena and this had an effect on his career path.  Having spent nearly 20 years working for 2 livestock marketing co-operatives he has a good understanding of livestock production and the whole red meat supply chain in the UK.  Prior to joining EBLEX in 2003 (now AHDB Beef & Lamb) he was project development & marketing manager for Meadow Quality Livestock overseeing several development projects as well as being the key account manager for Dovecote Park, supplying Angus and Hereford cattle for Waitrose.  A lot of his time was also focused on the development of the beef & sheep industry through supply chain management together with improvements in breeding & feeding.   His current role as Head of Knowledge Exchange for AHDB Beef & Lamb is one of industry relations and development, liaising with all relevant stakeholders, including primary producers, either directly or through other regional staff, as well as overseeing delivery of the Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Exchange activity.  The Cattle Breeders Conference is a key date in the calendar as it is a great opportunity to meet so many people actively involved in all parts of the beef sector.

Lucy Andrews-Noden
Member

Lucy is a Harper Adams University Animal Science Honours graduate, a Trehane & Dartington Nuffield Scholar and graduate of the Institute of Agricultural Management Leadership Development course.  She has spent the past 21 years working within the Dairy industry - previously leading the Research, Genetic, Genomic Evaluation & Business Products & Services developments for Holstein UK and recently embarked on an exciting new venture with her own consultancy company Priestcliffe Consulting Ltd.  Through her career Lucy has been lucky enough to be appointed Chairman of the British Cattle Breeders Club in 2010 and more recently completed the coveted Institute of Agricultural Management; Leadership Development Course. She has always been a passionate advocate of the younger generation and encouraging the Club to find new and innovative ways to involve and encourage younger delegates to the conference. Knowledge transfer of science, genetics and breeding whilst applying these into innovative products and services to benefit farm businesses is her lifelong passion.  Lucy’s new business is fully committed to driving these innovations forward within the companies she works with.  Her latest lock-down project has been to start her own tiny pottery business from home called @3PawsPottery with the help of her Jack Russell Bertie and Beagle Bella!

Charlie Askew
Member

Charlie is Norfolk born and bred and was educated at Thetford Fulmerston and Shuttleworth College’s and a ‘finishing school’ in Western Australia.  Charlie ran the Scales Farm Herd of Pedigree Holsteins on the family farm for 23 years.  The farm currently has an Angus suckler conservation grazing enterprise, Poultry Unit, arable crops and diversified farm buildings. He has worked in a variety of roles at Easton College as technician, assessor, instructor and Lecturer in Livestock Husbandry.  President of EUROPEA UK, part of a network of European Land Based Colleges and European Co-ordinator of Projects and student work placements at Easton. 

He is currently Chairman of Norfolk Proficiency Test Committee and recent past Chairman of Norfolk Holstein Club.  Charlie was also a former NFU branch Chairman.  His other interests include Norwich City, rugby, cricket, cycling, rock music and quizzes.  Charlie is passionate about developing new entrants to the livestock industry and in particular provide as wide a range of possibilities to bring out the best in young people.  He has introduced students to the BCBC conference for several years and sees the club as the ideal forum for inspiration and innovation in the Livestock sector.

Dr Alex Brown
Member

Alex was introduced to the field of animal breeding whilst on placement with the Animal Health Trust in the summer of 2007, researching breed specific parentage verification panels for Exmoor ponies. Since then, she has carried out quantitative genetic research on a number of species, including horses, sheep, dogs, and cattle. Alex got her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 2016, with her research focussing on the potential for across breed genomic evaluations in cattle. She then joined the dairy evaluations team at EGENES, being responsible for the monthly genomic evaluation runs for the dairy cattle industry. After 18 months, she took on the role of Beef Breeding Projects Manager at AHDB, focussing on providing technical advice and support for the UK beef breeding industry, and pushing to increase the uptake of EBVs in the sector. Alex first attended BCBC in 2014 as a student speaker, and as a co-opted member onto the committee for 2020, she looks forward to encouraging student participation in the club and its conference, and to help provide knowledge on genetics and animal breeding in an accessible manner.

Dr Tim Byrne
Member

Tim grew up on a 400 hectare sheep and beef farm on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. His interest in agriculture led him to study animal science and genetics. He then worked for the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation, before completing a PhD study on the economics of genetic improvement programmes while working as a consultant for AbacusBio. Tim has a wealth of experience in agriculture built over 15 years, with specifics skills in genetics, production system economics, strategy and investment, and technology. Tim has combined this science and business expertise to deliver solutions all around the globe including in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, UK, Canada, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Poland. Tim moved from the companies’ office in Dunedin, New Zealand to set up AbacusBio in Edinburgh. He is passionate about delivering solutions and tools to agriculture and is keen to work with BCBC to create impact in the UK cattle sector, and interact with scientists and farmers through the BCBC forum.

Tim Gue
Member

Tim farms with his wife Marion and their three sons Keith, Matt and Ryan, who have recently joined the business. They farm 1450 acres with 450 high yielding Holsteins cows, 300 North Country Mules and 800 acres of arable cropping in West Sussex; and also have a 650 acre mainly arable farm in the Scottish Borders.  Tim is a past chairman of The West Grinstead Ploughing and Show Society and a former chairman of the Maize Growers Association. He has served two terms (eight years) on the Holstein UK Board as a non-executive director for research and development, and 6 years as a board member of AHDB Dairy. Tim has had a significant role in the development of modern dairy cow, the herd is currently number three on the AHDB Dairy list of highest PLI herds and contains over 120 cows Classified as Excellent.

Ben Harman
Member

Ben is a 4th generation farmer and third generation Charolais breeder, currently farming 274ha over three sites on top of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire.  He currently has 50 cows, 111 head of mostly pedigree Charolais with some Charolais Wagyu cross cattle for his beef enterprise ‘Chagyu’. The arable land is farmed under a share farming agreement with a local contractor. Ben farms with the help of his amazing 79 year old father and currently with help from his 18 year old son as he saves for University.  Ben is currently Chairman of the British Charolais Society, which was founded by his Grandfather and others in 1962, and has enjoyed roles with Charolais and Charbray International.  He is an avid traveller, rugby supporter, cook and reader, particularly of cosmology, particle physics and novels.  In the past he enjoyed working briefly for the Holstein Friesian Society as an editorial assistant and for AG-World Europe assisting in the export of breeding pigs to the far east. With a friend Ben also ran an enterprise ‘Pinballers Anonymous’, they rapidly became the largest reseller of Pinball machines in the UK, hosted many events and championships culminating the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) world championships which was held on the farm (the only occasion it had left Las Vegas).

Ben is delighted and honoured to be co-opted to the committee of BCBC and looks forward to learning from and hopefully contributing to the club over the next year.

Andy King
Member

Andy originates from family farming roots in Kent, brought up on a small mixed livestock and horticultural farm, and later graduated from Seale-Hayne Agricultural College with a BSc in Agriculture in 1986.  After graduating he spent 15 years in the agricultural ruminant feed supply industry covering a range of technical and commercial roles for a national feed manufacturer.  Andy joined Coombe farm in 2001 to work initially rationalising the farm estate. This involved creating and implementing the strategy of planned systematic conversion to organic milk production as the core of the future Organic Milk Pool for Coombe Farm.  In parallel to this work he was tasked with the creation and development of the dedicated organic milk supply chain for Coombe Farm purchasing milk from 27 local dairy farms.  This has subsequently become the Waitrose Duchy organic milk supply pool. The work also included taking many of the farmers through organic conversion and supporting when required.  

Andy took on a farm business tenancy with his wife Rosemary in 2008 milking 250 cows supplying milk to the Coombe Farm Milk Pool.  He completed a further degree, MSc in Organic Agriculture in 2009.  Andy and his wife of 25 years Rosemary, have two daughters, one studying at university and the other has just started work.  Andy has a real passion for positive cattle welfare demonstration with cow sentience at the core.  

Ruari Martin
Member

Ruari grew up in the Scottish Borders in a farming community, although his family are not farmers. He moved to Lancashire to study Agricultural Livestock Science at Myerscough College. During this time, he performed a range of jobs as a livestock contractor, including herdsman, sheep shearer, shepherd, tractor driver and as a researcher at Myerscough after graduating in 2014. This work was later published in the journal Animal, with Ruari as a named author, one of his proudest achievements to date. He then spent some time shepherding in North Yorkshire before moving to the position of Livestock manager at Thoresby Estate in Nottinghamshire. This involved managing a complex livestock business, which complimented the wider 3500ha farming estate.  Previously worked for ForFarmers in North Cheshire, while studying for an MBA, online, at the University of York. In 2019 he was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work as the Director of Farm Operations and Innovations at Myerscough College.  The enterprise comprises of dairy, sheep and beef with forage cropping, with three main priorities of student engagement and experience, commercial farming and research.  Coming from a non-farming background Ruari has always approached farming as a business, is passionate about cattle breeding and nutrition, and will seek to bring the knowledge gained through his MBA to the industry and the next generation. 

Fern Pearston
Member

After her first degree in Mathematics, Fern went on to get a Masters in Animal Breeding from the University of Edinburgh.  She started her working career as a Data Technician at SRUC and from there moved to the AHDB to the role of Animal Genetics Manager in 2014.  During her time at AHDB she has helped roll out genetic evaluations for bovine TB and mastitis, and assists the UK herdbooks to maximise the use of genetic and genomic information.  Recent work has focused on lameness, carcase traits and calf survival breeding values for the UK dairy industry as well as developments to AHDB Dairy’s online tool, the Herd Genetic Report.

Melissa Roberts
Member

Melissa lives and works on her family farm in Shropshire alongside her husband, Daniel, Parents, Mike and Hazel and younger sister Elaine.  The family have been resident on the farm in Baschurch since 1919 and rear Pedigree Hereford cattle for show, sale and for meat to be sold in their busy farm shop that the family opened in 2005.  Melissa is mostly found working with her cattle but also rears pigs for the shop, now having 10 sows, and chickens for eggs.  After many years of feeding cattle on their own, home grown oats and wheat, the family have made the move to a purely grass fed system, incorporating rotational grazing and reducing chemical inputs in order to produce a more ethical product.  Melissa has been a regular attendee of BCBC and always finds it an interesting, inspirational and progressive event.

Anya Westland
Member

Anya graduated from Newcastle University in 1987 and then entered the animal feed industry on completing her MSc in Animal Nutrition at Aberdeen University.  She worked as a nutritionist and on-farm technical advisor for a variety of animal feed companies throughout Scotland until 2002 when she progressed into managing a large animal feed manufacturing and distribution operation in north-west England.  Since 2006 Anya has worked at Myerscough College near Preston in Lancashire.

She lectures and researches mainly in livestock science and agricultural business subjects at degree level.  Since attending her first BCBC conference in 2008 with a group of students, she has been an enthusiastic supporter of the unique format of bringing researchers, industry specialists and practical farmers who inspire and motivate the future generation in all aspects of the cattle industry.

Henry Richardson
Co-opted Member

Henry retired from the role of Senior Data Analyst with National Bovine Data Centre division of Holstein UK in 2020.  Originally from a family pedigree of North Lancashire dairy farmers, he was raised on a commercial dairy and sheep farm on the western slopes of the Pennines, where “it was always advantageous to grow webbed feet!”.  After gaining a BSc in Agriculture from Nottingham, he worked for a period on a mixed arable and livestock prairie farm in Saskatchewan, with a leading Canadian breeder of Landrace pigs.  On returning to the UK he worked with the MLC on the development of beef enterprise financial models, before moving to the Milk Marketing Board in Surrey. Initially within the “Breeding Research & Statistics” department with the late Peter Wood (of Lactation Curve fame). Later transferring to the MMB’s National Milk Records division, where he undertook a variety of roles in IT programming, staff training and technical support.  Henry is a life member of the British Society of Animal Science and works with the ICAR Animal Identification sub-committee on the development of international standards for animal ID and ear tag testing. Henry first attended a BCBC conference in 2008 and has been an enthusiastic supporter ever since. “For me, BCBC is a fantastic way to keep in touch with practical farmers, trends in technical developments and both current and former colleagues”.

Outside of agriculture he is has been a Trustee Director of the MMB staff pension fund for over 20 years.  Also a long-term motor sports enthusiast with a string of national and international rally co-driving credits to his name. He now lives “on the dry side of the Pennines” in North Yorkshire with his wife and two daughters.  

James Shouler
Co-opted Member

James is a fourth-generation farmer running a 350 acre mixed farm in Oxfordshire. He has a pedigree Simmental herd of 50 cows, which calve in both spring and autumn.  The aim is to sell high genetic values breeding stock, selling pedigree breeding bulls and replacement heifers.  Rearing and finishing cattle on a mainly forage based system.  James is also an AHDB Beef and Lamb sector board member.

Richard Williams
Co-opted Member

Richard was born on a Dairy Farm in Herefordshire, his father had the Pedigree Churchwell herd, and was quite well known and had won prizes at several Major shows, They also sold many Pedigree Holsteins to Ireland for AI.  He is an ex Young Farmer and after leaving agriculture college worked on several local dairy farms before he travelled to Denmark to work on a dairy farm in Arhus.  When he returned to the UK he started his sales life with a company called Black & White Sires, which later was bought out by a company called Avoncroft, he is still working within the same role but for CRV Avoncroft (Avoncroft was bought out by CRV a Dutch AI Company).  Richard has travelled over most of Europe and the US during his time as a breeding consultant.  When he's not selling Bovine Genetics he is the District Governor in the west of the country for an organisation called Lions Clubs International, which is the largest Volunteer Service organisation, (non political & non religious Group), who have recently been working with NFYFC.  Lions are also providing many volunteers to help in the Covid vaccinations programme. 

Richard has attended many BCBC conferences over the years and he feels that BCBC can play an important role in promoting good standards of livestock farming, which is important for our customers, the general public.  He believes that we need to make sure these standards are explained to our customers and for British Agriculture to become a standard to be trusted.

Andrew Wilson
Co-opted Member

Andrew grew up on a small family farm in the Derbyshire Dales where they farmed a small pedigree beef herd. He attended Reaseheath College eventually completing an FdSc in agriculture whilst working within the industry.

In the following years he worked as a breeding advisor for Cogent breeding during the roll out of genomics within the industry. Working with farmers to maximise genetic improvement and helping them to realise the genetic potential of their stock made this role extremely rewarding. Upon seeing new challenges within the dairy industry regarding labour and wider sustainability, in 2018 Andrew took on the role of sales representative at Lely Center Midlands Ltd. Andrew is passionate about introducing innovative solutions and new systems to farm business aiding them to have improved profitability and sustainability.