Meet the Blade Team

The team of people who make up the Blade business has a wealth of experience behind them. Each has their own area of expertise, and is committed to improving the quality of the Beef produced by the Blade business.

To discuss any aspect of the Blade business, please contact us. The team is spread throughout our trading region, and is in regular contact with our office base in Langport, Somerset. Farm visits from any member of the team can easily be arranged to select cattle and calves, or business appointments can be made to discuss the detail of the Blade contracts.

Richard Phelps

Richard Phelps was one of the founders of the Blade Farming business when it began as a project in 1999.

He is our Managing Director and also ABP UK's group Agriculture Director setting our Blade farming strategy for a long term and sustainable future. Richard's background is farming having spent the start of his career working on farms before moving into cattle procurement in the early 1990's. Richard is also a board member of EBLEX.

Gavin Iles

Gavin Iles has been involved in livestock marketing for more than 30 years working for a livestock cooperative. He joined Blade in 2005 to oversee all aspects of the Blade business. As the business has grown, Gavin has increased the area that he covers, and now has a considerable number of customers in the Midlands and further north.

Gavin continues to focus on areas for improvement for the Blade farmers ensuring that we remain the most efficient farm business model in the UK.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones joined the Blade team having worked in various different sectors of the agricultural industry, most recently in livestock marketing. He now works with our beef finishers to develop and add value to their businesses, and he is also responsible for developing the Blade business with our key partners.

As well as selecting finished cattle, and the bulls from the Veal units, he is also closely involved with calf purchasing and the rearing units.

Ian Ellicott

Ian Ellicott is our National Calf Procurement Manager. Ian has been involved in calf marketing since 1998.

He manages the calf procurement, calf collection centres and various dairy farmer schemes from Carlisle to Cornwall and across to Kent. Ian buys in excess of 25,000 calves a year and is our main point of contact for dairy farmers. He is especially pleased to hear from farmers with Aberdeen Angus calves to sell.

Vivienne Harris

Vivienne Harris joined the Blade Farming team in 2012 as Calf Operations Manager, and more recently she has undertaken the role of Agriculture Manager for ABP overseeing the Agriculture account for one of the major retailers.

Vivienne has a strong agricultural background and after graduating from Harper Adams in 2005 she has held a number of different roles within the agricultural livestock industry. Within the Blade business Vivienne is responsible for managing the Veal units and is the main contact for the Veal producers.

Joanne Alderson

Joanne Alderson is our Calf Rearing Manager for the Northern Region. She is the main point of contact for our Contract rearers from Gloucester to Scotland.

Joanne joins us with knowledge and practical experience having managed a number of dairy farms and calf rearing units since graduating from Harper Adams in 2004.

Christina Cowell

Christina Cowell joins our Calf Rearing team as the Rearing Manager for the Northern region. She is the main point of contact for our Northern Contract calf rearers.

Christina joins us with practical experience having worked with a large animal Veterinary practice, reared calves on a unit for her placement year and also worked on various dairy farms ranging from 200-2000 cow herds. She graduated from Harper Adams in 2015.

Robert Ashmore

Robert Ashmore has a wide background of experience within the livestock industry. He has travelled and managed dairy farms in New Zealand before returning home where he held positions in other aspects of the livestock industry in farm assurance and area account management.

Returning to his main interest, the beef industry as a livestock manager at a college farm in Staffordshire, he also studied for a Diploma in Ruminant Nutrition at Harper Adams. Starting with Blade in July 2014, he is now developing our Northern region.

Bradley Evans

Bradley Evans joins us to strengthen the Calf procurement team in the midlands and northern region.

Before joining the team he was an Assistant Farm Manager and Head Herdsman at an Agricultural College managing 120 rearing calves at a time and a 50 strong pedigree suckler? herd.

He has worked on other dairy farms, been a Herdsman and he also had his own business shearing sheep and relief milking.

Seth Wareing

Seth Wareing joined Blade Farming in 2013 having previously worked for a major Machinery supplier as an Adviser and Nutritionist.

He brings with him extensive practical experience and knowledge in beef production and nutrition, and will provide Nutritional advice and a rationing service to our Blade Finishers. He also oversees the nutrition in our contract calf rearing units.

Ronda Martin

Ronda Martin is the main point of contact in the Blade office at Langport. She keeps all the cattle contracts up to date, keeps records of all the weaned calf orders and movements and also oversees the ordering of products for all the Blade calf units.

Blade Northern Ireland

Arthur Callaghan

Arthur Callaghan from Kilkeel Co. Down has joined our team as the co-ordinator for Blade in Northern Ireland.

Coming from a beef and sheep farm he is familiar with the Industry and he completed his HND in Agriculture at Greenmount Agriculture College in NI. From there he progressed on to a BSc (Hons) degree in Agriculture with Animal Science at Harper Adams University, where his final year dissertation focused on assessing the finishing ration of intensively fed Holstein bulls.

He will be based between the ABP sites in Newry and Lurgan, and will be working closely with producers in NI to establish the Blade model in the area.

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Do you and your farming business have what it takes to join the Blade Farming scheme?

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