Pershore and Upton branch of the NFU have once again held a very successful conference, this year titled ‘The Power of Branding’. The panellists were: Helen Browning OBE founder of Helen Browning’s Organic, Martin Thatcher of Thatcher’s Cider and Vice Chairman of the Assured Food Standards, Andrew Blenkiron.


The evening started with an opening address from Julie Branfield of Carver Knowles before the first speaker, Helen Browning, took to the stage. Helen farms organically in Wiltshire and is founder of Helen Browning’s Organic as well as being Chief Executive of the Soil Association.  Helen’s business is going from strength to strength and she believes there is a huge opportunity for adding value through organic farming and being brand area is crucial from the start of the adding value process.


The next speaker was Martin Thatcher who is the fourth generation of Thatcher’s Cider. Martin outlined how advertising and marketing are a key part of the business as well as the importance of having external advisers to assist with business development. Martin’s two children are both keen to take on the family business and he believes marketing a quality product with heritage values are hugely important to the success of the brand.


The final speaker was Andrew Blenkiron who is Vice Chairman of the Assured Farm Standards, more commonly known as the Red Tractor, as well as being Estate Director of the Euston Estate in Suffolk. Andrew gave us an interesting talk about the public perceptions of the Red Tractor as a brand and took a number of questions from the audience on how last year’s referendum decision may affect the Red Tractor brand. Peter Snodgrass of Shakespeare Martineau then closed the evening with the vote of thanks.


The evening was attended by around 100 local farmers and NFU members. Thanks as ever should go to Ray Foster-Morrison and the team at Pershore NFU for organising the event. Carver Knowles, Crowthers and Shakespeare Martineau were delighted to sponsor such a well-supported event.