Taylor sets out aims in HDC leadership role

The new chairman of grower levy body the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) has said he will aim to "close the circle" between the research it funds and commercial practice.

Taylor: new levy body chairman - image: NFU
Taylor: new levy body chairman - image: NFU

Already an HDC board member, Gary Taylor took up the Defra-appointed two-day-a-week job at the start of this month, after the retirement of Bulrush Horticulture director Neil Bragg.

"I've always been supportive of what the HDC does and you want to see programmes that you have implemented through to conclusion," he told Grower. "Also I'm at an age to have acquired the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence as well as a network of people."

On his priorities for the body, he said: "We need buy-in from growers and crop associations - that's what drives the HDC forward. We know where the uptake is (of HDC-funded research) to some extent, but if it's not taken up we need to know what the barriers are - we need to close the circle. That's always been a challenge."

In this regard he praised GrowSave, the specialist energy advisory body for growers funded by the HDC. "It enables results to be cascaded down. I wish we had one for everything we do."

He added: "The next five years will see an explosion of new instant, affordable technologies that will change horticulture in a positive way. We are embarking on a whole new chapter."

Taylor has also overseen the publication of a sweet pepper cookbook, which will be launched at New Covent Garden in London at the end of the month.

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