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Bedfordia Farms Board

The farms board is made up of Chairman John Ibbett, Managing Director Ian Smith, Non Executive Directors Charles Whitaker and Andrew Needham and adviser Richard Crane. The Board meets  4 times per year to review the current trading as well as considering the future strategy for the farming business.

John Ibbett
Chairman, Bedfordia Group
A graduate in agricultural marketing and business administration from Harper Adams Agricultural College, John represents the third generation of the Ibbett family’s ownership and management of the Bedfordia Group. He has worked for the Group since 1983 and has been Chief Executive since 1995. As well as being a passionate and highly regarded expert in agriculture and property, John’s enthusiasm for a diversity of commercial activity is clear in the variety of the Group’s operations. It is John’s combination of commercial and environmental vision that has been fundamental to the Group expansion into the eco-technology sector.

Ian Smith
MD, Bedfordia Farms
A graduate in Agriculture from Newcastle University Ian grew up on the family farm in East Yorkshire. Over the last 20 years  Ian has worked for a range of large farming businesses with diverse interests such as dairy, pigs, potatoes and sugar beet, before joining Bedfordia Farms as Managing Director in 2006.

Charles Whitaker
Founding partner, Brown & Co
Charles Whitaker, a founder equity partner of Brown & Co and Managing Partner, has 25 years of experience providing management and consultancy services to farmers and landowners throughout the UK and overseas. Charles specialises in larger businesses, changing business performance and complex family and business structures, and holds non executive and executive roles on a number of management and farming company boards. Charles has extensive experience in land management, farming and farm business management in South America, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe having established client and Brown & Co businesses in a number of countries over the last 20 years (Poland, St Lucia, Colombia, Argentina and most recently the USA).

Richard Crane
Audit and Advisory Partner, BKL
Richard is head of the Farms and Estates team at BKL, a leading firm of chartered accountants and tax advisers. He was previously a partner at Deloitte for 17 years and an agricultural adviser at ADAS for three years. Many of Richard’s clients are business owners involved in farming, property management and the food processing/trading sectors. He offers support with continual planning for transferring roles, wealth and responsibilities between generations, as well as good governance and ensuring the underlying business continues to thrive. Adding to his first-class degree in Agriculture, Richard farms and manages property in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. He is Chairman of Finance for The Worshipful Company of Farmers, a City of London Livery Company.