At the 2019 AGM, held at Stoneleigh Park on August 29th, and following an election, two new Board members were announced. John Atkinson and Ryan Perry both joined the Board of Trustees for the first time.

A Board meeting was held following the AGM at which Gail Sprake was re-elected Chairman. Prof Tim Morris, who has previously served as an elected member, was co-opted and re-appointed Vice Chairman. The remaining Board members are Tom Davis, Dameon Layt, Sandra Mansell and co-opted Trustee and Treasurer Alison Pope.

John Atkinson has spent 40 years as a commercial farmer, with 25 years’ experience of working for the National Trust in department and project management roles. He currently sits on the Board of the Whitebred Shorthorn Association and The Federation of Cumbrian Commoners and was co-opted onto the Board of Trustees of the Dry Stone Walling Association for ten years. With his partner Maria Benjamin, John farms 450 acres in the Lake District, running rare and native breeds of cattle and sheep. The farm has searched out different markets for its produce and developed new products and income streams to add value.

Professionally, Ryan Perry works in the NHS as a biomedical scientist specialising in microbiology and has an interest in livestock genetics. He has kept rare breeds for around 20 years, an interest he first developed when volunteering for RBST city farm, Bill Quay Community Farm in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. He has served as a trustee for various charities, including Bill Quay. By developing strategic plans and grant funding, he helped develop the business and turn the organisation from significant deficit to break-even with new income streams. He is Chairman of the Tamworth Breeders’ Club and breed representative for the British Pig Association, where he has served for three years as a Trustee. Ryan farms Tamworth pigs, Bagot goats and Castlemilk Moorit sheep and has recently added Shetland cattle.