Farmer-owned grains co-operative Openfield has appointed former Berry Gardens boss Nicholas Marston to its board

Joining the Openfield non-executive management team, Marston ran UK berry growers’ co-operative Berry Gardens between 1996 and 2017. In this time, the company grew from a turnover of £18m and profit of £100,000, to a turnover of over £340m and profit of more than £10m.

“This is a great opportunity to help deliver Openfield’s strategy to grow its market share and improve its supply chain efficiencies,” said Marston.

“It’s really exciting to be working with Britain’s only national grain marketing and arable inputs co-operative and bring my deep understanding and experience of running large-scale, successful farmer co-operatives to the team.”

Openfield chairman Philip Moody described the co-operative as a large, complex business that needed a variety of skills in its senior leadership team.

“There will always be a strong farmer presence on our board. However, we are also recognising the need to embrace other expertise. Nicholas’ experience and passion for the UK co-operative sector will play a major role in our next stage of development.”

Marston is also chairman of UK berry industry trade body British Summer Fruits, is a non-executive director of large-scale berry growers Hugh Lowe Farms, chairman of start-up vegetable crisp manufacturer Growers Garden, and a non-executive director of field vegetable co-operative East of Scotland Growers.