As a relative newcomer to the agricultural sector, new guild member Leo Townsend has been learning fast since joining HGCA, the levy board for cereals and oilseeds.
Working as a communications executive, Leo is responsible for taking the results of HGCA’s research programme to as many arable farmers as possible. This includes finding content for events and building relationships with the press, as well as writing articles, press releases and content for the website.
“Communicating scientific research is a challenge; simplifying ideas is crucial but it is important that you don’t go too far,” says Leo. “You have to trust your audience and give them the impetus to understand.”
Prior to joining HGCA, Leo studied at Food and Water Security at Aberystwyth University.
“During my studies I realised that relaying research to farmers is often overlooked, and good quality work is not put to the best use,” notes Leo. “That is why I chose to take up a communications role.”
Before studying at Aberystwyth, Leo worked as an English teacher in Ukraine. During his time there he taught many people involved in food production and export and this sparked his interest in agriculture.
“Living in the port city of Odessa meant it was hard to miss all the produce being processed and exported,” he recalls. “Also, food prices are often a big political issue in Ukraine and I always wanted to find out more.”
Outside of work, Leo keeps up-to-date with the news and improves his language skills on Russian websites. He is also a keen cyclist, loves swimming outside and is a fairweather camper.