New BSPB Head of Policy
The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) has created a new role and appointed Dr Anthony Hopkins as head of policy. This reflects the BSPB’s need to strengthen its ability to represent plant breeders in response to the many policy challenges the sector faces. Dr Hopkins commented on his new role saying:
“Plant breeders and growers are operating in 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.”
Dr Hopkins joins the organisation from the NFU to work alongside head of business operations Stephanie Spiers. He was most recently chief crops adviser at the NFU, with a proven track record of securing improvements across a variety of issues affecting the arable sector such as access to crop nutrition and plant protection products.
“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,” says Dr Hopkins.
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.”
Dr Hopkins’ immediate priorities will include resolving trade barriers, providing long-term access of plant protection products, and securing vital seed treatments. Further focus will also be given to gene editing technology, which the BSPB has already been instrumental in securing via the Precision Breeding Act.
“I look forward to working with the BSPB’s members and other organisations across the agricultural and horticultural supply chain to maximise the influence we have,” concludes Dr Hopkins.
The British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) is the representative body for the UK plant breeding industry. Acting on members’ behalf, BSPB licenses, collects, and distributes certified seed royalties and farm-saved seed payments on agricultural and horticultural crops. The Society represents members’ interests on technical, regulatory, and intellectual property matters, and works to promote continued innovation and investment in UK plant breeding.