Over 50 years devoted to agriculture, research and education, with a real passion for improving the lives of others.
Presented with the 2016 Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to agriculture, John was characteristically modest: “I was given a free ticket to attend the event but my only thought was that attendance might be low. So I am totally amazed, and taken aback, to receive such a prestigious award.”
One of the UK’s most distinguished agricultural academics, John is currently an Emeritus Professor at the Royal Agricultural University - after 23 years at the RAU, latterly as Dean of the School of Agriculture.
It is significant to this award – and his unstinting energy and commitment - that John is also currently a Course Director for the Institute of Agricultural Management Leadership Course, the Worshipful Company of Farmers Business Management Course and for the John Edgar Trust Management Development Scheme.
He’s also a fellow of the Institute of Agricultural Management, a fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and the Institution of Agricultural Engineers. As Chairman of the Henry Plumb Foundation, a charity which provides funding and mentoring for young people wishing to enter the agricultural industry, he constantly provides inspiration and enthusiasm to both applicants and mentors alike.
These examples, and there are many more, attest to a life guided by the belief that futures can be transformed by the right guidance and support, provided at the right time.
“John is the epitome of the kindness of this industry, one in which people help each other all the time,” says former colleague Rhonda Thompson, Business Development Manager at Bishop Burton College, “and he is a passionate believer in the value of education and the sharing of knowledge.
Travel throughout his life and career – John is a Nuffield Jubilee Scholar and a New Zealand Waitangi Foundation Fellow – has helped to form his ideas.
“John has an incredible ability to identify potential in people and to help them develop it further”, comments Andrew Ward MBE, arable farmer, Forage Aid Founder and Leadership Course attendee in 2012.
“Attending the course gave me the vision and inspiration to set up Forage Aid and he has played a pivotal role in the achievements of many of today’s industry leaders. I cannot think of a more deserving person for this award, he is insightful, hugely knowledgeable and is incredibly generous with his time, always more interested in your success rather any of his own.
“With a wife and two sons, both active in the equine world, John’s own areas of interest include global trade, maize production, beef, sheep, dairying and a love of golf!. As the busy man who seems to know and be known by everyone in the industry John’s best advice remains closer to home: ‘never be so busy that you miss out on family life, family comes first.”