Joe has recently joined the company as the fieldsman who looks after their English potato farmers. Here he tells us a bit about himself and his passion for promoting British farmers and their produce.
What got you into agriculture?
I studied Environmental Management at Harper Adams, but whilst at university I found agriculture more interesting. Not surprising really, as from about the age of 14 I spent a lot of time on various local farms.
While I was studying, I had a placement on an environmentally friendly farm that grew potatoes, wheat and rye. Looking back, it was this experience that really cemented my interest in agriculture.
What did you do after graduating?
My first job was at J. Sainsbury in an administrational role, which offered me opportunities to visit head office and meet the buyers. This experience taught me about how a supermarket reacts to new trends and new demands within the food industry. Most importantly, this job taught me the importance of communication, and the ability to form relationships with everyone.
My favourite memory of working at J. Sainsbury was when I visited one of their farms, where I harvested and graded some potatoes myself. Seeing them on the supermarket shelves gave me a real sense of achievement. So when the job opportunity at Rush came up, it was the perfect way for me to fulfil my agricultural dreams.
What does your job at Rush entail?
One of my main responsibilities is finding new British potato growers, which is something that really excites me, as I am passionate about promoting British farmers. I love spending time meeting the farmers either in the field, the yard or the pack house.
What type of farmer are you looking for?
Professionalism is the most important attribute. Regarding quality, Rush has markets for the full range of potatoes. Quality control is obviously really important and so takes up a lot of my working day.
Oh and if the farmers can fill jumbo bags, that is a big bonus as that enables us to export the potatoes to the EU.
What do you like most about working at Rush?
The travelling and meeting new people. I love the British countryside – especially the way it changes throughout the seasons. I also feel proud to be able to expose British produce to Britain and the rest of the world – hopefully.
I also have a fabulous network of colleagues all around Europe (and beyond), with experience second to none.
If you are a British potato farmer and want a secure exposure to an international market, contact Joe Yates today.