New Chair and Vice Chair sought for Farmer Scientist Network

New leaders are being sought by the Farmer Scientist Network at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

This unique network in Yorkshire, which brings together the best of farming, agricultural academia, and land-based science and technology, seeks a new Chair and Vice Chair to drive forward new ideas as the industry seeks meaningful ways to mitigate challenges and embrace opportunities.

FSN works with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society to advise policymakers in the UK and beyond on issues such as farming practices, food security, sustainable productivity and the ways in which new science and technology can solve problems and underpin innovation in agriculture.

From meeting climate change impacts on food production, and farming increasingly in harmony with the environment, to overcoming disease and pest threats to crops and livestock amid an era of changing agricultural support from government, the Farmer Scientist Network exists to inspire and investigate potential solutions.


Due to retirement, Professor Rob Edwards of the University of Newcastle, and Government vet Dr Amanda Carson are vacating their respective Chair and Vice Chair roles, having led the Network since its formation in 2012.

Under their leadership, Rob and Amanda (pictured below) have played key roles in developing research and educational programmes to inform meaningful developments in the industry, including two European Innovation Partnership (EIP-Agri) projects.

Professor Rob Edwards and Dr Amanda Carson

A focus on key issues

The Farmer Scientist Network’s EIP-Agri funded Hill Sheep Health North project developed a participatory approach with hill sheep farmers in Yorkshire and Cumbria to help farmers manage Liver Fluke disease among flocks, and the Crop Health North project demonstrated encouraging wheat yields from the application of non-chemical pest controls, compared to the results of chemically treated crops during a series of trials with project partners.

Regenerative Agriculture is a key current focus of the Farmer Scientist Network.

Through a series of events, farmers are being offered opportunities to learn about regenerative techniques that are being adopted to drive farming profitability and productively in harmony with the environment.

Outgoing Farmer Scientist Network Chair, Prof Rob Edwards, who is Head of the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Newcastle, believes it is an exciting time to lead the group as his and Amanda’s successors.

Rob said:

Not only is agriculture crucial to our sustenance and health as the world’s population grows, it also has a crucial role to play in mitigating the impacts of climate change and protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

Farming can deliver all these things if it is productive, profitable, and innovative.

By bringing together agricultural, academic, and scientific expertise, the Farmer Scientist Network has in its gift, the capacity to explore new ways in which the industry can tackle problems and find solutions.

Outgoing Network Vice Chair, Dr Amanda Carson, who is the Sheep and Goat species Lead for APHA (the Animal and Plant Health Agency) added:

It is essential that we continue to build on the expertise of our scientists and farmers to inspire, encourage and support changes that are urgently needed to bring innovation into farming.

The Farmer Scientist Network is a commitment to furthering this aim.

The Farmer Scientist Network is part of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s family of networks which provide avenues of support and knowledge exchange for the farming community, and which champion the industry.

Apply for a leadership role

To further its work, the Farmer Scientist Network is inviting committed, passionate and hard-working individuals with strong interpersonal and communication skills to apply to lead the Network as its new Chair and Vice Chair for minimum terms of three years.

These voluntary roles require a likely commitment of one to two days per month, depending on activity levels.

The Chair’s duties include chairing network meetings; representing the Farmer Scientist Network at functions as required; acting as a spokesperson for the Network; championing and supporting the Network’s activities; leading the strategy and aims of the Network as agreed by the Management Committee and working closely with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

The Vice Chair deputizes for the Chair as required. Both the Chair and Vice Chair will serve for three-year terms.

To apply, email your CV and covering letter to or call 01423 546 251 to discuss the opportunity in further detail.

The deadline for applications is Friday 16th December 2022.

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FSN Regenerative Agriculture Open Event