The farmer-funded research and innovation body, AgriSearch has announced several changes to its board of trustees and advisory committees at its recent Annual General Meeting.

 Jo-Anne Dobson from Co. Armagh joins the board as an independent farmer trustee and Martyn Blair takes up a position on the board as a UFU nominated farmer trustee.

 Jo-Anne Dobson is a former MLA who served on the NI Assembly agriculture committee. She is a partner in the family’s beef and cereal farm in Co. Armagh. Jo-Anne, who is a living kidney donor, is Northern Ireland Charity Ambassador for Kidney Care UK and also a member of the Queens University Simulation Centre User and Patient Safety Reference Group. Her extensive experience in agriculture, business consultancy, financial management and organisational governance as well her work with charitable and voluntary groups will be valuable to the strategic development of AgriSearch.

New Trustees Martyn Blair and Jo-Anne Dobson (seated) with Seamus McCaffrey (Vice Chair) and John Henning (Chair)

Martyn Blair also brings a wealth of relevant expertise to the board. He is a poultry farmer from Co. Antrim and holds a Master’s Degree in Agri-Marketing. He is a former President of the YFCU and a Board member of UFU.  He is a member of the UFU Next Generation Group and sits on its environment committee. He was named “Farming Champion” at the 2014 Farming Life / Danske Bank Awards. Martyn has just finished his three-year Chairmanship of the board of North Antrim Agricultural Association which is responsible for maintaining the membership owned Showgrounds and hosting Ballymoney agricultural show each year. 

Also at the Annual General Meeting, Michael Bell, stepped down from his position on the board. Chairman of AgriSearch John Henning said, “Thanks to Michael for his service to AgriSearch over the past five years. During his term as Chair of the board AgriSearch has continued to evolve in recent years. Michael’s breadth of experience in agri-food and corporate governance has been invaluable to us.

There were additional changes in the leadership of AgriSearch’s sheep advisory committee with Edward Adamson taking on the role of Chair and Nigel McLaughlin as Vice-Chair after Crosby Cleland stepped down.

“On behalf of the board, I would like thank all our trustees, committee members and staff for their dedication and hard work on behalf of AgriSearch. We congratulate and welcome our two new trustees and committee chairs and look forward to their contribution in the period ahead. At this pivotal time for agriculture in Northern Ireland shaping the future direction and focus of AgriSearch’s work will be increasingly important to address unprecedented challenges for the livestock sector and help us to deliver for our farmer-stakeholders,” added John Henning.