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Crop Production

Introducing AF's Head of Crop Production - Matt Kealey

19 January, 2021
On the 15th February we will welcome Matt Kealey to AF as the Head of Crop Production.

Matthew (Matt) Kealey is an experienced Crop Production Head, having developed and managed customer support teams along with commercial agricultural growth strategies throughout Europe.

Originating from farming stock in East Yorkshire and having studied at Harper Adams University, Matt has worked in both technical and commercial roles.

About Matt's 25 years of experience

Having worked for both global R&D companies and smaller post-patent businesses, Matt has an excellent knowledge of the agrochemical registration process, data requirements for dossiers, global networks regarding the sourcing of technical, formulation technology, manufacturing, and distribution. Add to that a global network of manufacturers and distributors providing an early warning system to members of an impending over (or under) supply

Matt has worked closely with the UK distribution network at all levels and has a deep understanding of the commercial aspects of the supply chain. This includes brand segmentation, product linking, rebates and the necessity to forecast to achieve the best deal in terms of both price and continuity of supply.

He has a detailed understanding and network within the emerging Agritech sector and thrives on bridging the gap between concept and practical application. Over the last 5 years Matt has been involved in various projects, including the development and commercialisation of nanotechnology within the UK crop protection sector. He has been involved in exploring the commercial viability of spray drones along with their uses for field, weed, pest and disease mapping in collaboration with Harper Adams University. Recently employed by the Department of International Trade in Whitehall advising and mentoring both UK and overseas Agtech companies along the road to commercial success mainly within the Crop Production sector.

He holds a BASIS certificate in Crop Protection along with the BAA (British Agrochemical Association) Part III qualification.

What will Matt bring to AF's members?

- 25 years experience working with the UK and global agricultural supply chains.
- Technical, practical, and commercial experience.
- Experience of motivating, nurturing, and leading a customer focussed team.
- Firm but fair negotiating skills with honesty and integrity.
- In depth knowledge of the manufacturing and distribution supply chain.
- A global network providing early warnings for potential shortages or over supply.
- Existing contacts with the UK and European R&D and generic manufacturers.
- Existing contacts with the UK distribution network both national and regional.
- A direct line into government policy changes and opportunities via DIT colleagues.
- Proactive forecasting with members and suppliers to ensure both continuity and competitive pricing.
- An understanding of growers needs, right product, right place, right time, right price.
- A commitment to ensure members are ahead of the curve with new products, varieties, methods, and technologies.
- A desire to embrace and share the emerging Agritech sector.
- A passion for British farming, British produce, and brand GB.
- A strong work ethic, loyalty, and a sense of humour.

What are the biggest challenges facing the Crop Production sector?

We asked Matt what he believed the biggest challenges facing the Crop Production sector were.

On a macro scale it's housing, feeding, and watering the rapidly increasing global population and it's increased life expectancy. Then consider the change in global diets with most seeking and being able to afford an increase in protein consumption. Then globalisation, greater consumer awareness and the moral and legal responsibility to respect and manage the environment better. We must produce more, better, from less.

On a micro scale here in the UK it is one word: consolidation. Consolidation of the number of active ingredients available, consolidation of the number of R&D manufacturers and consolidation of the number of distributors operating. Less choice means we must do things differently, work with the companies large and small developing new tools for the armoury of crop production. This includes things such as gene editing, biological control, soil improvement methods and novel nutrition technologies. It's also important to maintain strong trading relationships with the UK distribution network and keep an open dialogue with the global R&D manufacturers and plant breeders.

We are finally starting to respect and recognise the most valued asset in sustainable crop production - our soils. Everything begins with soil health and we have been too reliant on farming out of a bag or a can since the post war “dig for victory” push. A reduction in the productive land mass and the various environmental directives means we must look after this asset, embrace new technologies, not be afraid to try something new, buy well and farm smart.

Outside of the office

Matt has a love of the outdoors and country pursuits. He holds the British Deer Society management qualification and manages the deer at Honingham Thorpe Farms. An annual member of Fakenham racecourse and a racehorse owner, you may well see Matt in his wellies and cap trackside on a wet and cold winter's day. He served as a Special Constable with Humberside Police for 7 years, a voluntary position he may return to in Norfolk.

He lives with his wife, Rachel, and youngest son on a small holding in rural Norfolk alongside a growing menagerie of dogs, ponies, chickens, and pigs. His eldest son works as Field Trials officer for a national independent trials company. Meanwhile, his middle son is currently gaining practical on farm experience prior to starting his academic career studying agriculture at Harper Adams later this year.
Get in touch

Contact us

If you have any queries or would like to find out more please get in touch. 01603 881881Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 5BZ
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