The lure of practical farming is taking Guild member Ian Ashbridge from Farmers Weekly as he joins Bidwells in Cambridge as an agribusiness consultant, managing farms for clients as part of a new team. It will bring to an end a near eight-year stint on Farmers Weekly that culminated in his current role running the business desk.
“I joined FW in November 2003 after working on a big farming estate in Buckinghamshire,” Ian recalls. “I started as junior business reporter and edited the Stock & Sales pages – the auction market beat. At that time, the property editor used to get wined and dined very generously by land agents – I got a styrofoam cup of tea in a draughty livestock market as my perk!”
That was to change as Ian progressed through the ranks to be appointed Business & Economics Editor in 2008.
“In that time, my role on Farmers Weeklyhas taken me all over Europe, to West Africa and as far afield as Brazil,” he points out. “I was really proud to redesign and develop Farmland Market, the land pricing journal begun by Don Gomery in the early ‘70s.
“Also, I’ve been very lucky to work with and learn a great deal from people like former FW editor Stephen Howe, today’s editor Jane King and staff colleagues like Robert Harris and Andrew Blake, as well as John Lambkin, who ran FW’s own farms until 2005.
“But I trained as a farm manager and the call of practical farming has become stronger and stronger,” he adds. “It’s a really exciting time to be re-entering practical agriculture. But I hope to continue the many friendships I’ve made with FW colleagues and other Guild members in my new role.”
Ian’s new contact details (he leaves FW on September 16) will be published in the monthly Guild eAlert.