A friendly team that merges business knowledge, innovative thinking and agricultural experience.

Verity Payne

Centre & Events Manager
Verity joins Farm491 with a wealth of experience. Verity completed a master's degree in Business Management at the RAU in 2012 and subsequently worked at Savills. With a wealth of experience in customer service and an appreciation of the agricultural landscape she will be a real asset to Farm491. As Centre and Events Manager Verity will be responsible for management of the Farm491 membership,  buildings and facilities as well as representing us at shows and events. A very proactive person with excellent organisational and communication skills.

Luke Halsey

Entrepreneur in Residence
Luke leads Farm491’s incubation work, supporting companies in the agri-food tech space to achieve their full growth potential as well as building out partnerships and research initiatives to help grow the UK's AgriTech ecosystem. Luke is also Investment Director for California based fund AiiM Partners. Luke has over 10 years experience with environmental and social impact orientated businesses. This includes deep investment experience having worked in California on high impact portfolios around climate change solutions across agrifood, energy and oceans. He has also been involved in numerous research projects focused on breaking down barriers to adoption of innovation in the UK and U.S. to solve some of the biggest global social and environmental problems.

Sarah Carr

Outreach Officer
Sarah has grown up on her family farm in Shropshire, which is where her passion for agriculture began. After graduating from Lancaster University in 2016 with a BSc in Geography, she became a Farm Trader for an agricultural merchant, whereby she procured grain from farmers in order to supply UK human consumption mills and animal feed homes. Her interest in AgriTech and desire to continue working within agriculture led her to the role of Outreach Officer at Farm491. Here, Sarah is responsible for outreach activities which ensure Farm491 are engaging with AgriTech entrepreneurs, as well as building our network and sourcing strategic partnerships. Sarah also coordinates and delivers Farm491's Inspiring AgriTech Innovation Programme as well as developing content-led events.

Neave Anderson

Centre Coordinator
Neave officially graduated from the RAU in July 2018, having completed her BSc degree in International Equine and Agricultural Business Management. Neave has a love of farming and a passion for seeing agricultural businesses succeed. She has strong customer service and organisation skills from her experience in the service industry, which will be vital in her role as Centre Co-ordinator, whereby she will be responsible for assisting Farm491 members in any requirements they have.  


Professor Joanna Price

Vice-Chancellor of the RAU
Professor Joanna Price took over as Vice-Chancellor of the RAU in September 2016. Previously Professor Price was Head of Bristol University Veterinary School and Head of the School of Clinical Veterinary Sciences. Prior to this Professor Price had worked at the Royal Veterinary College, University College London, the University of Sheffield and the University of Bristol. Professor Price qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol University in 1983 and spent a number of years in clinical practice in the UK and overseas before entering research and academia.

David Owen

David is Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, one of the most successful Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK. He is also currently a non-executive director of the Responsible Finance Provider South West Investment Group (SWIG), and training and business development company Gloucestershire Enterprise Ltd. David is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Council. He is also a previous President of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of the South West UK Business Advisory Group. David has a BA Hons in Business Studies and a MA in Leading Change.

Matt Charman

Head of Growth Marketing EMEA; Google Cloud