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RBS Team

Richard Soffe | Director of the Rural Business School

Director of Rural Business Research and formerly Director of Professional Development at the University of Plymouth. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at University of Exeter & works with staff in the Centre for Rural Research both on combined research projects, rural textbooks and the Farm Business Survey (FBS) results. Richard is the Course Director for the prestigious 'Challenge of Rural Leadership' programme which is delivered with the University of Plymouth and sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Farmers. Richard also maintains his links with University of Plymouth with joint research into strategic Leadership.

Alison Bunkum | PA to the Director of RBS

Ali joined the Rural Business School in April 2009 and has undertaken various roles within the department over the intervening years, she is now PA to Richard Soffe and is based at the Stoke Climsland campus. Ali also co-ordinates the annual Challenge of Rural Leadership which is run by the Rural Business School on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Farmers.”

Becky Willson | Research Leader

Becky joined the RBS in 2009, but spent the first year seconded to the Regional Development Agency working on Rural Development projects in the South West. Becky returned to the Stoke Climsland base in 2010 to work on the SWARM Hub project, and has been responsible for co-ordinating work on resource management, carbon and sustainable farming. Becky has a degree in agriculture from Aberystwyth, and is a 2016 Nuffield scholar focussing on communicating carbon reduction schemes to farmers. Becky works on the applied research trials here at the college, including cereal variety trials, work on diverse forage mixtures and high sugar grasses, and in her spare time runs a community farm.

Bethan Stagg | Agri-tech Research Assistant

Bethan has recently joined the RBS on the Toolbox of Multi-species Sward (TOMs) project, part of the Agri-tech partnership. Bethan has a keen interest in food and farming, and was a lecturer in sustainable agriculture at Dartington Schumacher College for several years. She has also worked as a farmers market manager and lived on a co-operatively run farm in South-East Cornwall. Bethan has a degree in biology (Bristol University), MSc in Biodiversity and Conservation (Leeds University) and is currently working towards a PhD at Exeter University, in biology education.

Caroline Lambourne | FBS Research Officer

Caroline joined the Farm Business Survey Team as a Research Officer in 2010. Based at Stoke Climsland she visits farmers and growers in South East Cornwall and South Devon and is involved in the training of new Research Officers to the team. Caroline has worked in and been involved with running family farm businesses. She has previously worked in Accountancy, is AAT qualified and prior to joining the FBS team worked as a farm secretary for local farms including the college farm.

Catherine Ede | Farm Secretary/Information Officer

After studying the National Diploma and FdSc in Agriculture here at Duchy College, Cat is now employed by the Rural Business School working on the Healthy Livestock project as a Graduate Trainee Sheep Specialist. Her responsibilities are to co-ordinate events, finance and attend training events for industry. Cat has a keen interest in farming having grown up on a farm and takes an active role in the family business. She is actively involved in the Young Farmers movement and enjoys her spare time getting involved in the activities it provides.

Dr Stephen Roderick | Research Manager

Dr Stephen Roderick is a research manager for the Cornwall Agri-tech project with a particular interest in sustainable farming systems. He joined the College in 2001 and has participated in numerous regional, national and international applied research and knowledge exchange initiatives, including projects on organic farming, animal health and welfare ( and farm resource efficiency ( He has been an associate editor of the Organic Agriculture journal and has recently co-edited a book on improving organic animal farming. Stephen is also currently managing the RBS’s role in the Interreg (Atlantic region) Dairy-4-Future project with AHDB and has recently participated in a Comic Relief funded smallholder farmer project in Kenya. Before joining the College he worked in veterinary epidemiology and economics research at Reading University and has extensive experience of farming in Europe and Africa, including conducting long-term studies of Maasai pastoralism in Kenya and teaching animal production in Zambia.

Greg MacQueen | FBS Research Officer

After graduating in Agricultural Science from Bangor, Greg worked as an agricultural adviser for ADAS in Staffordshire and Warwickshire. He joined the Farm Business Survey (FBS) team in 1987 and works mainly in Somerset. As well as working on the FBS he has contributed to study reports on Countryside Maintenance and Management and for 12 years from 2000 calculated the management agreement compensation payments for Exmoor National Park (forerunner for the ESA scheme). Current interests include greening measures and renewable energy. But he’d rather be windsurfing!

Jamie Blake | FBS Research Officer

After working and studying in Wales for six years I left University with a degree in Agriculture with Agricultural Economics. For fifteen years - I have worked in and been involved with running family farm businesses'. I have been a part of the FBS team for more than ten years. I visit farmers and growers' in Cornwall and West Devon.

Linda Lawrance | FBS Research Officer

Linda joined the team as a Research Officer on the Farm Business Survey, early in 2010. Based at Rosewarne, Linda visits farmers and growers throughout Cornwall. She has previous experience working as a Research Officer on the Farm Business Survey in the East Midlands.

Mark Fogerty | FBS Senior Research Officer

After leaving the University of Nottingham with a degree in Agricultural Sciences I worked for ADAS as an agricultural advisor before joining the FBS team over 20 years ago. I visit farms in the West and North Devon area, as well as East Cornwall and I am now leader of the FBS team. I live on the edge of Dartmoor on a small hill farm producing mainly finished lambs.

Morwenna Tregellas | Agri-tech Research Administrator

Morwenna joined the Rural Business School in December 2010 as Training Leader for the Healthy Livestock project. The Healthy Livestock project is a Rural development Programme for England (RDPE) funded initiative to improve the profitability of livestock farmers across the South West. Morwenna works closely with the Healthy Livestock Training Coordinators and registered vet practices to ensure efficient processing of claims for funding across the region.

Paul Ward | Farm Research Platform Manager

BSc MSc CBiol MIBiol - Paul's current role within the Rural Business School is as Manager of Healthy Livestock, an innovative Rural development Programme for England (RDPE) funded initiative to improve the profitability of livestock farmers across the South West. He initially joined Duchy College in 2003 to manage the Grassland Challenge Project a knowledge transfer project for Cornish grassland farmers in partnership with the Institute and Grassland & Environment Research and the Cornish Grassland Societies. He has managed a variety of projects including animal health, nutrient management, food chain linkages and the effects and mitigation of climate change on agriculture. He is also involved with teaching on Foundation Degree courses in Agriculture, edits the Rural Business School Newsletter and works with industry partners and funding agencies to develop new projects to benefit rural businesses across the south west. He has over twenty years experience of working in training, research and management of livestock projects in developing countries (Egypt, Nicaragua, Oman, Peru, Sudan) in addition to his work in the UK.

Rachel Rollason | FBS Data & Analysis Technician

Rachel joined the FBS team in June 2013. Her duties include the inputting of farm data into Excel and the analysis of farm records in order to assist in the production of management accounts.

Susanne Vanstone | Agri-tech Programme Administrator

Sue is the first point of contact for Rural Business School enquiries She joined the Rural Business School in March 2006 as administration co-ordinator. Along with the rest of the team Sue deals with the day to day running of the office; enquiries, course bookings, event organisation and administration. She also provides admin support for the Healthy Livestock and Skills project managers and the Food Innovation Service as well as supporting the training co-ordinators and business development officers in their roles. Sue studied agriculture at Newton Rigg College, Cumbria. In her spare time Sue enjoys walking, ‘wild swimming’ and is studying for a degree with the Open University.

Warren Sanders | FBS Research Officer

Warren joined the FBS team in 2015 after completing a degree in Rural Business Management at Duchy College. Based at the Stoke Climsland campus, Warren visits farmers and growers in North and East Devon. At weekends he enjoys helping on his small family farm in North Devon, producing fat lambs and store cattle.

Alex Bebbington | Research Assistant

Alex is a research assistant on the Soil Carbon Project and Farm Crap App. This mainly involves taking and processing soil samples from farms across Cornwall. He also provides assistance on other Agri-Tech projects when required.