Farmer Scientist Network

About Us

The future is bright for agriculture globally and it is essential that we here in the UK can build on the expertise of our scientists and farmers to catalyse innovation across the industry. The Yorkshire Agricultural Society has an excellent track record of success in bringing science and farming together, and developing research and educational programmes to inform the wider society of the importance of agriculture to every aspect of our lives.

Our aim is to work with the crop and livestock sectors to find new ways in which science and technology can find solutions and underpin innovation in agriculture.

Members include

  • Professional scientists with a track record of academic excellence and commitment to strategic research related to agriculture and land-use
  • Senior representatives from relevant governmental organisations
  • Farmers spanning small and large successful businesses in the region, with entrepreneurial skills recognised by national awards and strong personal commitments to the future success of British agriculture.

The FSN works with YAS 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.

Our goal is sustainable productivity, encouraging and supporting the changes that are urgently needed to bring innovation into farming.

Together we can achieve sustainable success for the industry and for society.

Cover Crop Guide logo

Cover Crops Guide – An online, farmer-led guide to cover cropping in the UK

Led by award-winning Yorkshire farmer Angus Gowthorpe, who runs a 500-acre mixed farming enterprise near York, this website has been developed to help other farmers across the UK to better unlock the potential of cover crops at a crucial time for agriculture and the environment. The Guide aims to provide farmers with free access to the most comprehensive information for successful adoption of cover cropping on UK farms, making this more achievable for more farmers at a crucial time for agriculture and the environment. Scientifically supported to give farmers the most up-to-date information and advice on cover crop varieties and their management. Using the Guide’s interactive plant species selection tool, growers can assess the suitability of different brassica, legume, cereal and other varieties of cover crops.

Project funding was gratefully received through the Farming Innovation Programme, delivered by InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency, in collaboration with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as part of the Research Starter Competition. The competition aims to support farmgate ideas from farmers, growers, and foresters to solve major problems facing their business on themes of sustainability, productivity, and resilience.

Click here to view the final report
Click here to view farmer case study videos
Click here to view our project poster

Cover Crops Guide

The Farmer-Scientist Network has successfully completed a project funded by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) which delivered a wheat trial over a four-year period to investigate whether biocontrol’s could be used as an alternative to biopesticide use, with the basic question: Do biocontrol’s work to tackle pests and disease on winter wheat?

Results and final discussions can be viewed on the ‘Results’ section of the dedicated website via the link below. Alternatively, watch our results webinar here.


The European Agricultural Fund or Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas


The European Agricultural Fund or Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas


The Farmer-Scientist Network successfully secured grant funding through the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) to develop a participatory approach where hill sheep farmers from Yorkshire and Cumbria identify a relevant disease issue and gain support in finding solutions through meetings, gathering evidence, getting the right advice and sharing with others what they have learnt. The current area of focus for the project the reduction and eradication of Liver Fluke disease.


The European Agricultural Fund or Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas


The European Agricultural Fund or Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas

Our Management Team

Dr Dave George (Chair) Newcastle University
Prof Jonathan Leake (Vice Chair) University of Sheffield
Holly Jones (Network Coordinator) Yorkshire Agricultural Society
Prof Pippa Chapman University of Leeds
Mike Powley Mixed Farmer
Ellie Sweetman National Institute of Agricultural Botany
Peter Trickett Mixed Farmer

Dr Dave George

Mike Powley

Prof Jonathan Leake

Ellie Sweetman

Holly Jones

Peter Trickett

Prof Pippa Chapman

Farmer Scientist Network Blog

email us at or call 01423 546251

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