Jimmy Doherty 

Jimmy, a figure well-known to RBST members - not to mention the nation's TV viewers - has become RBST's President. He officially took up the reins in October 2016.

Billed as one of the UK's best-known farmers, Jimmy's first venture began 15 years ago when he took on the leasehold of the 160-acre-plus farm outside Ipswich which became BBC2's "Jimmy's Farm" and he and his family now have another farm near Woodbridge. His interest in farming and food production, however, goes back to his childhood.

“I kept chickens from the age of 11 or 12 and when I was growing up, my best friend's dad kept Ryeland sheep and Dexter and Gloucester cattle. I can remember once when we'd just got back from school and discovered that the first lamb of that season had been born. It was called Button and I was totally captivated.

Jimmy Doherty

A passion for the great outdoors led Jimmy, at the age of 16, to becoming the youngest ever Assistant Entomologist at Mole Hall Wildlife Park in the village of Widdington, near Saffron Walden. After gaining a degree in Zoology he worked at the Entomology Department at London's Natural History Museum before moving on to Coventry University where he researched for a Doctorate in Entomology, set up an insect laboratory and taught animal ecology and animal philosophy to undergraduate students.

“The love I had developed as a child for our indigenous breeds combined with my love for food production always stayed with me and I would have hated going through life without fulfilling my passion. It was something I wanted to do as a business and it was important to me that this was based around the native breeds I had got to know about while I was growing up.

When asked for his reaction to the invitation to become President of RBST, he says:

“It was one of those moments when I was completely taken aback. It's like being asked to be Captain of the England Rugby team - a great honour. It also really sparked memories of my childhood because I could remember sitting in my friend's home reading his dad's copies of The Ark. Farming is a subject I love because it connects back to my youth and when I was growing up. Because of the impact that interest has had on my life, I would love to bring the importance of traditional breeds to the younger generation and show them how relevant they are to modern food production. One thing I love about our native breeds is the diversity they represent. Through my academic studies I developed an understanding of the ecological importance of a diversity of insects and plants without that diversity we don't have stability. The same goes for our native livestock breeds. We should never forget what we've got - and what we have given the world with some of these breeds. I want to play my part with RBST, in promoting them, getting more young people involved and, on the food side, stimulating more interest from butchers and chefs.