The Red Tractor Board of Directors met at the end of May to discuss a number of issues relating to the scheme. Chief among them was the progress against the implementation of Campbell Tickell’s recommendations to improve on Red Tractor’s governance. 

I am pleased to report that the Board received training and advice on the expectations and legal responsibilities of a company director. This was delivered by an expert on corporate governance. The Board also reviewed progress on a Governance Handbook, code of conduct, a suggested Directors appraisal system and feedback on risk register.

We confirmed the importance of keeping you informed about how Red Tractor is evolving and adapting to the market. In particular, we emphasised the need to take members behind the scenes of how Red Tractor works, to demonstrate how use of the portal can help make the process more efficient for some and better explain the ways in which Red Tractor delivers value to Red Tractor to farmers.

We also received a report from NFU Deputy President David Exwood on the wider Review on Farm Assurance. The Commissioners have now been appointed and work has started. Red Tractor welcomes the Review and will take every available opportunity to fully engage and provide insights into the practicalities of operating the largest farm assurance scheme in the UK.

The Board heard from the executive team of the ongoing efforts to review how Red Tractor assurance can be improved – particularly using the latest technology. This is to ensure the scheme is fit for purpose for members and all stakeholders in the coming decades. We agreed this work is vitally important and confirmed that all sector boards at their next meetings at the end of this month should be invited to contribute their thoughts on the topic. Your Sector Board Chair reports at the beginning of July will provide an update on this work. In the meantime, if members have views then please feedback directly via email, your Post-Assessment Survey or via your representatives on Sector Boards.

I know Red Tractor is a huge asset for British Agriculture. Simultaneously, I recognise that for many reasons Red Tractor’s perception by some in the farming community has become quite negative. We fully recognise there is a big job to do in turning this around. The Board have directed the team to take every opportunity to make this happen. Just as a recent example, we have committed to communicating with you after each Sector Board meeting and each Main Board meeting, to keep you informed of strategy and progress. The team will also be at Cereals and other agricultural events throughout the year, to take your questions and feedback on how to improve your Red Tractor experience.

Finally, I’d like to pay tribute here to the to the work of Red Tractor’s Head of Communications, Ed Knight, who very sadly passed away late last month following a short illness. He led our communications function through an extremely challenging time for the organisation and will be sorely missed.

Best wishes, Christine Tacon, Red Tractor Chair 

Red Tractor Board members:

Alistair Mackintosh – Vice Chair

David Exwood – Industry Director

Will Jackson – AHDB   

Dean Holroyd – Industry Director

Sophie Throup – Industry Director

John Pain – Independent Director

Chris Goodwin – Independent Director

James Russell – Independent Director

Professor Guy Poppy – Independent Director

John Reed – Industry Director

John Dracup – Beef & Lamb Sector Director

Tim Lock – Dairy Sector Director

Lucy MacLennan – Fresh Produce Sector Director

Stewart Houston CBE, FRAgS – Pig  Sector Director

Iain Gardner – Poultry Sector Director

Kit Papworth – Combinable Crops and Sugar Beet Sector Director

 Jim Moseley – Chief Executive