John Carter
John had experience of working on farms in the South of England before establishing a 500 acre livestock and arable enterprise in East Devon from scratch. He was the founder member and past national chairman of the Institute of Agricultural Management and also the Devon Farm Management Group. John has involved himself deeply in village life and administration; he has helped to pioneer community shops, promote local food movement and encourage farmers’ markets. He has also run his own farm shop and retail meat business. John worked with the Meat and Livestock Commission on developing benchmarking groups. He has also been a reporter for a national farming magazine and written and published widely. He has been a Justice of the Peace for 35 years.

Alan Cooper
Alan started his career dairy and sheep farming in Warwickshire. He has an NDA from Harper Adams and an MSc and PhD from Reading University. Alan has 35 years of teaching experience in animal production from certificate to postgraduate level, including four years at the University of Malawi. His main research interests were in beef production and goat production systems both in the UK and South Africa. He has ongoing interests in smallholder farming and rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In retirement, Alan keeps busy laying hedges and building dry stone walls.

Chris Finney
Chris is resident in East Devon and is a member of the Tropical Agriculture Association. He is an agricultural and water resources economist who has some 45 years experience as a consultant in overseas development in Africa and Asia. Most of his work has been concerned with rain-fed and irrigated agricultural development, mainly for smallholder farmers, but also with some involvement with larger-scale (commercial) farming and livestock development.

Adrian Gaunt
Adrian started his career teaching English in Colleges of Further Education. Before his recent retirement, most of his career was spent training teachers and trainers in many fields, both in the UK and overseas. For more than 30 years Adrian carried out many short term consultancies in Human Resources Development and Training of Trainers for Governments in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as working full time as Training Adviser for a Ministry in Bahrain and for Government agencies in Serbia and Croatia. Adrian’s specialisms include the development of training skills, curriculum development and the management of Training Centres.

Viv Horton
Viv’s career background is in social work, practice education and community development both in the UK and overseas where she has worked in Morocco, Kazakhstan and Uganda.   Her special interest and research is in self-help groups and how small scale savings and loans schemes can work effectively to underpin sustainable development in rural communities. In the last few years before retirement she taught social work at the University of Plymouth and developed international placement opportunities for students. She hopes that her experience, particularly with Kulika Community Development Team and farmer groups in Uganda can be useful in support of BOAT’s work.

Mick Merritt
Mick is a dairy farmer in north Devon who helped Bill Vellacott and others to found BOAT.

Mike Pash
Mike has spent his working life in agriculture both in the UK and overseas. Having completed his Bachelor degree in Agriculture at Wye College he worked on Conservation Planning and Settlement Schemes in Tanzania and Malawi. He then completed a Farm Business Course at Wye College before taking up a post as Consulting Officer for the Milk Marketing Board in mid Cornwall. He subsequently became a Lecturer in Dairy Cow Management and Livestock Husbandry at Bicton College in the period 1975 to 2004. Mike has been an active supporter of BOAT prior to his recent appointment as a Trustee. He coordinates the residential courses organised by BOAT at Bicton College.

Peter Reed
Peter is a dairy farmer in East Devon. He studied at Bicton College and became the Chairman of the Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. In 2008, he led a team of 12 young farmers to the Livestock Training Institute at Tengeru near Arusha in northern Tanzania, where they installed two Papa pumps to improve the clean water supply to the dairy herd and villagers.

John Russell
John’s qualifications are MA (Cantab) and Dip. Ag. Econ. (Oxon). He has extensive experience of working in developing countries which started when he was appointed as Zambia’s first Chief Farm Management Officer in the period 1967 to 1972 after consulting in Pakistan. He subsequently served with the World Bank as Principal Agriculturalist in Kenya, Washington (USA) and Indonesia specialising in Agricultural Extension, Crop Production and Rural Development in the period 1972 to 1988. John continued consulting with the International Fund for International Development (IFAD) in Africa from 1989 to 2006. He has been the local Chairman of the Tropical Agricultural Association (TAA) and the Royal Geographical Society. John has also been Chairman of the TAA Award Fund.

Derek Shepherd
Derek is now retired after a wide and varied career in Britain and overseas in agriculture, development and education.  He has an NCA from Bicton, an NDA from Seale Hayne, and an MSc in Management from Bath University.  With hands on experience of farm management in the UK and Tanzania, and ten years in Zambia as a trainer and consultant in farm management and extension, Derek became a lecturer and ultimately Head of the International and Rural Development Department, at the University of Reading.  At Reading, Derek’s main consulting, teaching and research interests included extension systems, the practice and management of participatory interventions, and governance and institutional arrangements.  These involved overseas work activities in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana, Cyprus, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, China, and Yemen.

Bill Vellacott MBE (Vice Chairman)
Bill is an East Devon farmer and founder trustee of BOAT. He was the first Chairman of BOAT and is the present Vice Chairman.

David Wendover (Chairman)
David has spent 45 years in internationally-funded development work specialising in livestock production and project management, mainly in Africa. He has lived and worked in Malawi (8 years), Nigeria (7), Tanzania (5) and Zambia (1) and consulted in many others. He obtained his Bachelor degree from Reading University in Agriculture followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Tropical Agriculture at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, and an MSc in Tropical Animal Health and Production at the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine in the University of Edinburgh.