Bidwells’ rising young star is appointed as chairman

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A young agribusiness consultant from Bidwells, John Jaques, who spent his summer holidays working for a leading Aberdeen Angus beef farmer, Richard Witter, has been appointed as the chairman of the under 30s section of The Farmers Club.

The under 30s section of the club, which is based in Whitehall, London, has around 350 active members (5,400 overall), and John was voted in as the new chairman earlier this month.

Despite being just 25, John has led a varied life and has been involved in all areas of farming from lambing on Exmoor to harvesting in Cirencester and holding kennel duties with the Royal Agricultural College Beagles Pack.

But he said it was his time working for Mr Witter, who produces award winning Aberdeen Angus beef for Waitrose, which inspired him to pursue a career in agriculture.

John, from Bampton, Oxfordshire, grew up surrounded by farming, and although his parents didn’t farm themselves, he grew up in North Lincolnshire and spent a lot of time on his uncle’s farm where he spent the summer helping out on the harvests and gaining his passion for farming.

He joined The Farmers Club in 2012 after studying for a degree in Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University (Royal Agricultural College at the time).

Speaking of his appointment he said: “It is so important to be a member in order to meet like-minded people but each with different experiences and following a diverse range of career paths – but all with one core interest; agriculture.

“You never know who you are going to meet at the bar; including NFU presidents, members of Parliament or even your neighbour.”

Speaking of his farming background he said: “I was hooked on farming from a young age and actively encouraged by my uncle Stephen Van Den Bos; to whom I owe a lot of thanks.

“At the age of 16 I started working for Richard Witter in spring 2006 and worked there in the summer holidays whilst studying for my A Levels and was then offered a full time job. I deferred my university place for a year and worked for Richard in my gap year which included general cattle and arable farm work.

“Richard is a very dedicated man who never has a day off and he gave me the inspiration and first opportunities to pursue a career in agriculture.

“At university I lambed on Exmoor and did a harvest in Cirencester whilst committed to kennel duties with the Royal Agricultural College Beagles Pack which are looked after by students.

“I was a McCain Foods Scholar at university and got a scholarship from Volac to attend the Oxford Farming Conference in 2012. It is hard getting into agriculture straight after university. I was very fortunate to be accepted on to the Velcourt Management Training Scheme (MTS) and was actively involved with the management of large arable farms in Norfolk and then my home county of Lincolnshire.”

John is an agribusiness consultant with Bidwells.  He joined the Oxford land and business team and enrolled onto their graduate training program during spring last year.

Stephen Skinner, chief executive at the Farmers Club, said: “I am delighted to welcome John as Chairman of the U30s.  He is an impressive individual and I am sure will lead the U30s with great ability and energy.”

Key events for 2015 in The Farmers Club U30s calendar will include a drinks reception for the U30s at Cereals in June, hosted by Bidwells, and the joint drinks reception with the Main Club at the CLA Game Fair on 1 August.  There will also be four dining evenings and two farm walks during the year.

To find out more about the U30s section you can visit the website, which includes a write up of the last U30s event at the club (winter dining and new members weekend), via the following link: www.thefarmersclub.com/under-30s.

John will be supported by vice chairman Mary Bell, PA to Lord Malloch-Brown and the rest of the committee.