Professor Ian Crute is to become the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s first Chief Scientist.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has appointed Professor Crute with the brief to deliver collaboration and co-operation across its £15,000,000 annual investment of levy funds in research and knowledge transfer programmes. He takes up the post in early September 2009 and will be part of the Senior Executive Team reporting to the AHDB Chief Executive.


Professor Crute is currently the Director of Rothamsted Research (formerly the Institute of Arable Crops Research) with overall responsibility for all scientific, operational, commercial and external liaison activities of the institute, a post he has held since 1999. (Further biographical details are in the notes to editors).


AHDB Chairman John Bridge said: “I am delighted we have someone of Ian’s calibre and ability joining AHDB. R&D and knowledge transfer is the single biggest area of spend for AHDB. This appointment is critical in order to encourage cross-sector scientific connections and collaboration to the benefit of our levy payers and to agriculture and horticulture as a whole.


“We are entering a new era for food production. Globally we need to double production by 2050 with no extra land, we need to nurture our resources – soil, water, energy – and we need to protect our environment as well as address the challenges that climate change will bring such as new plant and animal diseases.”


“These are big challenges for the farming and scientific community at a time when Government funding for R&D is declining. This makes the role that AHDB can play more critical than ever.”


Professor Ian Crute said: “I am very excited at the prospect of joining AHDB. It is my conviction that AHDB and its six sector Boards have the potential to play an increasingly  influential role in orchestrating the way in which public and private funds are put to work to deliver the new science-based products, practices and policies which the agricultural and horticultural sectors require going forward.”


Notes on Ian Crute

1.       Professor Crute is currently the Director of Rothamsted Research with overall responsibility for all scientific, operational, commercial and external liaison activities of the institute, a post he has held since 1999. The crop portfolio at Rothamsted covers cereals, oilseeds, sugar beet, potatoes, willow and miscanthus and input into tropical crops.

2.       Ian has a First Class Honours degree in botany and a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. From 1973 to 1986 he was a research group leader in plant pathology at what is now Warwick-HRI (formerly Horticulture Research International - Wellesbourne). In 1986 he obtained a Fulbright Fellowship and went to the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA to work on the genetics of resistance to fungal pathogens. On returning to England in 1987 he moved to HRI East Malling (now East Malling Research) as Head of the Crop and Environment Protection Department. He moved back to HRI at Warwick in 1993 and after two years as Head of Plant Pathology he became Director at Wellesbourne with overall responsibility for the research direction at the site until his move to Rothamsted.

3.       Ian's scientific contributions are recorded in over 160 publications; he was awarded the Research Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England in 1992 and the British Crop Production Council Medal in 2006. He was elected President of the British Society for Plant Pathology in 1995, and holds a Visiting Professorship in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford. His committee and board memberships include: Chairman of the Sainsbury Laboratory Council, member of the Lead Expert Group on the “Future of Food and Farming” Foresight project and Board member of HGCA’s Crop Evaluation Ltd. Ian also is on the editorial board of a number of scientific journals including Food Security, Outlooks on Pest Management and Plant Protection Science.


Notes on AHDB

1.       AHDB became operational on 1 April 2008 when five former levy boards were dissolved. It is a Non-Departmental Public Body whose £50m annual programme of work is funded by statutory levies paid by farmers, growers and processors. Its role is to help improve the efficiency and competitiveness of six agriculture and horticulture sectors in parts of the UK representing about 75% of total UK agricultural output.

2.       AHDB is structured with a number of centralised service departments (eg Finance, HR, Market Intelligence) and six sector divisions representing the commodity sectors covered by its statutory remit – pig meat in England (BPEX), beef and lamb in England (EBLEX), commercial horticulture in GB (HDC), milk in GB (DairyCo), potatoes in GB (PCL), cereals and oilseeds in the UK (HGCA). Levies raised from each sector are ring-fenced to be used for the benefit of the sectors from which they were raised.

3.       Six sector boards represent the commodity sectors covered by AHDB’s statutory remit. The sector boards are made up of members, representing their specific sectors, appointed by AHDB. The primary function of the sector boards is to act in the very best interests of the sector at all times. Each board has delegated functions from AHDB giving it the duty to develop the most appropriate strategies to meet the challenges of the sector; to ensure the relevant levy rate is recommended in order to provide adequate funding for the required work, monitor strategy implementation and approve remedies where performance deviates from plan. Strategy is implemented by AHDB and its divisional teams.

4.       There are a number of commercial subsidiaries within the AHDB group, the largest of which is Meat & Livestock Commercial Services Ltd (MLCSL) a wholly owned subsidiary of AHDB. MLCS Ltd is a separate company limited by guarantee supplying services to the meat and livestock sectors. All its costs are fully accounted for within the company and it currently returns profits to the meat and livestock sectors to supplement levy funds.

5.       Further information on AHDB is available at www.ahdb.org.uk


For further information contact Guy Attenborough

T: 0247 669 2051, M: 07887 896082, E: guy.attenborough@ahdb.org.uk