A webinar entitled “Productivity: the silver bullet to zero carbon” will take place on Monday 14th December at 8pm.  Following on from the success of the European Innovation Initiative (EIT) Food ‘Focus on Farmers’ Virtual Farm Walk series held over the late summer and autumn, this “Christmas Special” which will be hosted by AgriSearch for the EIT partners, including ABP, John Deere along with Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast and University of Reading.

In keeping with the theme of previous episodes, this event will feature farmer ambassadors Sam Chesney and James Evans alongside a number of special guest speakers providing a combined wealth of knowledge and experience within the agri-food sector.   

The main speaker on the evening will be Sir Peter Kendall.  Sir Peter has been leading the productivity working group of the Food and Drink Sector Council will outline the importance of improving agricultural productivity for economic, social and environmental reasons and the steps he has been taking to improve productivity on his own farm.

Stuart Roberts (Deputy President NFU) will then speak on the implementation of the agricultural productivity strategy in GB and how this links up with the new Agricultural Act recently enacted by Parliament.

Nick Whelan (CEO Dale Farm & Northern Ireland representative on the Food & Drink Sector Council) will speak on the challenges and opportunities of improving agricultural productivity in the dairy sector and on implementing the agricultural productivity strategy in Northern Ireland.

The farmers ambassadors for this project, Sam Chesney from County Down and James Evans from Shropshire will also discuss what they are doing on their farms to improve productivity.

To conclude the event a panel Q&A and discussion session will take place, chaired by Jonathan Birnie.

To register for the event click here



Sir Peter Kendall
Sir Peter Kendall

Sir Peter Kendall

Sir Peter Kendall is a fifth generation arable farmer from Eyeworth in East Bedfordshire. He undertook a degree in Agricultural Economics at Nottingham University before returning to the traditional mixed farm in 1984. The farm today is a specialist arable unit that undertakes contract farming for a number of local farmers, cropping in total 2300 hectares.

President of the NFU from 2006-2014 he has since served as the President of the World Farmers Organisation.  Peter's overriding passion has been to change the image of farming from an old fashioned industry to one that is innovative, exciting and central to facing the global challenges depicted in the UK Government’s Foresight Report on the Future of Food and Farming.

Peter was appointed Chair of AHDB in 2014 only stepping down from that role earlier this year. 

Peter is a member of the UK Food & Drink Sector Council.  The Food and Drink Sector Council is an industry-led board composed of businesses from every part of the food chain.  Among the Council’s priorities are agricultural productivity, nutrition, exports, workforce and skills, innovation, logistics and packaging.  Peter has taken the lead for agricultural productivity within the FDSC.



Stuart Roberts
Stuart Roberts

Stuart Roberts

Stuart farms 400 hectares in Hertfordshire and Kent in partnership with his wife Emma and father Howard.  A third generation arable and livestock farmer at Hammonds End Farm, Harpenden, Stuart has also worked for Defra and the Food Standards Agency and held senior management roles within the meat supply chain.

The farm incorporates around 300 hectares of combinable crops supplying grain to more than 50 artisan mills and bakers throughout the UK. The remaining land is predominately permanent pasture and a small amount of woodland. The farm includes two cattle herds, a commercial Simmental / Hereford herd producing 14-month old store cattle and a small but growing pedigree herd of Hereford cattle. The business also includes a small flock of laying hens.

Stuart has previously served as Hertfordshire NFU County Chairman and has served on both the East Anglian livestock and combinable crops board. Stuart has previously served on the boards of Red Tractor and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.  Stuart was elected Deputy President of the NFU in February 2020 after serving two years as Vice President.

Prior to returning to the family farm, Stuart had a career in the civil service with the Food Standards Agency and Defra and has held a number of positions within the red meat supply chain with both the British Meat Processors Association and the ABP Food Group.


Nick Whelan
Nick Whelan

Nick Whelan

Nick Whelan grew up on a dairy farm in County Wexford. 

Nick was appointed Group Chief Executive of Dale Farm, the largest UK owned dairy cooperative, in 2016.He is also a member of the Food and Drink Sector Council for the UK.  He is Chair of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, Chair of the CBI Northern Ireland’s Innovation Forum and a Board member at Dairy UK and Dairy UK Northern Ireland.  In December 2018, Nick was also elected as a member of the Agricultural Forum

Previous to his appointment as Group Chief Executive of Dale Farm, Nick was Commercial Director in Ireland’s largest dairy business, Glanbia. Responsibilities included sales, marketing and business development activities for a billion euro business with sales activities into 60 countries globally from 2007 –2016.

Nick also held senior management positions in the Kerry Group from 1995 – 2006.  These included Business Unit Director for Kerry Sweet Ingredients based in Worcestershire UK for 10 years.

Nick graduated from University College Cork in 1995 with a Batchelor of Commerce degree.