The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) has created a new role, appointing Dr Anthony Hopkins as head of policy. The decision reflects the organisation’s need to strengthen its ability to represent plant breeders in light of policy challenges.
“Plant breeders and growers are operating in a difficult post-Brexit policy environment, especially in terms of how we work with our European partners. As supply chains tighten, we want to ensure UK farmers and growers have access to the best genetics possible and continue to benefit from the investment and innovation that plant breeding provides,” he said.
Anthony joins the BSPB from the NFU, where he was most recently chief crops adviser, and will work alongside the head of business operations Stephanie Spiers.
“There are many challenges, but with the right policy environment the plant breeding sector offers enormous value to UK agriculture, domestic food security, and sustainability. I’ll be working to ensure this is recognised and supported by policymakers in line with the BSPB’s strategy, and the needs of our members,” he explained.
BSPB chair, Robin Wood, commented on the appointment saying: “I’m delighted to welcome Anthony to the BSPB. With his background in farming and agricultural policy, combined with a PhD in political strategy, I’m confident he’ll ensure the BSPB has a strong voice in policy discussions.”
The role will include resolving trade barriers, providing long-term access of plant protection products and securing seed treatments. Additional focus will also be given to gene-editing, which the BSPB has lobbied for through the Precision Breeding Act.