The function of the board is to direct the affairs of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association c.i.c in accordance with its objects and to ensure that its functions are properly performed. More details on the role of the board are available in Our Constitution.
Meet the directors
The board is currently made up of the following directors who represent a wide and varied set of expertise suited to the running of a farmer-led grassroots organisation (click the links to find out more about them):
After graduating at Newcastle and London (Wye College), John took up a post teaching crop production at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland – the start of a career spanning more than 40 years in overseas development.
Returning to the UK he joined an international agricultural consulting company and then set up his own company in 1983 to promote investment in the developing world. The work took him from China through SE Asia and Africa to the Caribbean. During this time he was also a visiting professor at Cranfield University (Silsoe College) and was awarded the MBE for his work overseas. After winding up the company in 2000 he became involved in post-conflict work in Sierra Leone and Liberia, focusing on rebuilding the rural economies. He is currently working with entrepreneurs involved in the sanitation sector in Africa.
He has remained close to agriculture throughout and his work in the developing world has made him acutely aware both of the fragility of the planet and the absurdity of using half the world’s grain to feed livestock. This came up in conversation during a chance meeting with John Turner and John Crisp at a Transition Farming conference in Exeter in 2009, resulting in the idea of trying to bring together others who shared an interest in raising livestock wholly on pasture. The rest is history. Affectionately known as the sheepdog, John has gnawed away in the background harrying people, doing the legal stuff to set up the PFLA and negotiating the PASTORAL brand. He is a Director of Transition Stroud and has recently brought together ten secondary schools (8,000 teenagers) to explore sustainability over the next three years. John’s wife (Fiona) was the finance director of their company and is now an artist. Their 16 year-old son Tom is an accomplished keyboard player and plays with his Dad (on clarinet) in a local jazz band on Friday nights.
A working farmer from Little Bytham, near Stamford in Lincolnshire, John runs a 100ha, mixed farm together with his brother Guy & parents Anthony and Judy. In addition to the cereal crops, the farm supports a commercial suckler beef herd of around 100 animals based exclusively upon permanent and rotational pasture. The whole farm was converted to organic production in 1999.
With a background in engineering, John graduated from the National College of Agricultural Engineering, (Silsoe) before working with a crop sprayer manufacturer and then setting up his own agricultural engineering business.
As one of the founding members of the organisation "FARM", John was responsible for steering their work towards developing models of sustainable production through Transition Farming. With an emphasis upon practical, viable steps, the initiative explores how farm businesses can reduce their reliance upon non-renewable inputs and thereby de-couple production from volatile input prices whilst also developing a more equitable market for produce.
By addressing the wasteful use of cereal grains to feed livestock and to produce biofuels the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association stands as one of the best examples of Transition Farming’s potential role in meeting the challenges of food production and land use in the 21st century.
John is supported in the manner to which he has become accustomed by his wife Stephanie, a Practice Nurse, and four children, Ben, Jack, Beth and Trudie, who are happily following paths in Law, Farriery, Sport and Art respectively having experienced the heady fortunes to be made from farming.
Following a BSc. (Hons) in Agriculture at Seale Hayne, Anna spent nine years as a farm manager, primarily working on farms which had free range pig units. The management role involved overseeing and integrating other farm enterprises such as beef, sheep and cropping into the whole farm system.
In 2002 Anna took up an advisory role with the Soil Association managing the technical advisory team for the food and farming department. She still does some work with the SA and also individual organic farmers.
Since 2006 Anna has worked as an agricultural advisor specialising in high welfare livestock management. About half of her work is with an American welfare assurance programme called Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) which has strong links to, and carries out audits for, the American Grassfed Association (AGA) whose standards, auditing and compliance processes she contributed to.
Anna has a very good understanding of the benefits of pasture fed meat and dairy products and has experience in communicating these – She is the author of a report called “the grassfed primer” that was produced by AWA to help promote grassfed beef in the US. She also has a lot of experience in setting up standards and compliance processes to ensure certification to a particular programme is transparent and consistent – important attributes to give any assurance programme credibility in the marketplace.
Anna joined the PFLA during the development of its production standards.
Born of a non farming family but living in a farming area of Clwyd, from 13 years old, Jeff never wanted to do anything other than farm, but struggled at agricultural college having been introduced to "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson, and found the conventional wisdom of the time disconcerting.
He met his future wife, Carey, at Seale-Hayne, and they were determined to find a farm of their own, but with only a small amount of family money had to be content with management roles until the opportunity arose in 1976 to take on a county council smallholding in Herefordshire.
Jeff and Carey are privileged to have brought up their children in this beautiful county, but the pressures of commercial dairying led them into ice-cream production as a diversification and eventually into full organic certification to become only the second organic ice-cream producers in the UK after Rocombe Farm who had led the way. Their pedigree British Fresians were paddock grazed to supply milk into their ‘September Organic Ice Cream’.
However, in 2003 they lost their entire dairy herd to TB despite being self contained and home-bred which caused great distress but enabled them to develop their own off-grid house and living system: ‘The CountrySOLE Project’. This is now up and running as a LAND learner permaculture project, with a small herd of Hereford cattle and flock of Ryeland sheep, both local breeds, along with a small acreage of cereals for domestic use.
Pasture-fed fits with their ideas about allowing the natural processes dictate the way they run their farm and lives, and Jeff is proud to be in at the start of the pasture fed movement.
Although Russ grew up on his family’s farm in Herefordshire he left to study Civil Engineering at Cardiff University and follow a different career. However, after a stint of international travel he decided to return to what flows in the family bloodline and become a full time farmer but with a string of off-farm skills and a passion for embracing the challenges of food production in the 21st century.
He now assists in the management of Caplor Farm, an 800 acre mixed farm in Herefordshire as well as helping out at home. On top of this he is very active in the young farmers movement both locally and nationally where he is vice-chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs committee, writes in village magazines to help explain the work of farmers and sits on Defra’s Green Food Project steering group which is considering the actions required to improve the sustainability of the British food and farming industry.
In addition Russ has started a Transition Farming movement in Herefordshire which is using innovative methods to discover opportunities within sustainable practices and resilient communities. He is also featured in a new film which follows the lives of eight young farmers over the course of a year as they look ahead to careers in rural Herefordshire.
Russ is a founding member of the PFLA and currently coordinates the management of its membership.
Will has been closely involved with the grass-fed movement for over 5 years. Growing up on his family’s grassland farm in Somerset in the 1980’s he says that he was exposed to the raw fertility of grassland from an early age.
Having sworn never to be a farmer he left to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. Graduating from Cardiff University with a masters degree, he moved to a world leading engineering firm, eventually leading one of their product development teams as a project manager and producing several award winning products.
In early 2006, following the birth of his first son, Will’s parents gave him the opportunity to take over the family farm. Eager to get back outside, away from the claustrophobia of office life he took on the overall management responsibility of the 500 acre farm. Establishing a purely grass-fed beef fattening operation incorporating over 150 acres of SSSI wetland, he soon realised the groundswell of interest in agriculture, food production and grass farming. In association with Graham Harvey, Will set up the company "GrassRoots Food" and published the book "The Carbon Fields" to spread the word about the benefits of grass-fed foods. With widespread critical acclaim, he firmly believes that the book has had a significant impact on the awareness of pasture fed products within the UK buying public.
Through the marketing of The Carbon Fields Will became aware of John Meadley’s and John Turner’s early work with the PFLA and attended the very first meeting to discuss the way forward. Since then he has worked closely with the core team and oversaw the development of a website for the PFLA. As a director Will will continue to help develop the website to meet it’s future requirements and also initiate a regional group of pasture-fed producers in the Somerset area.