Jack Ward has been appointed chief executive of the British Growers Association (BGA). He will take up his new role on 28 April 2014. Mr Ward was previously chief executive of City & Guilds / NPTC and NFU Regional Director for the East Midlands. A Nuffield Scholar and former chairman of the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, he was awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS) in 2014 for services to agriculture. Based in Louth, Lincolnshire, the British Growers Association represents and promotes the interests of the UK horticulture sector, with a strong focus on driving sales growth and efficiency gains in home-grown vegetable and salad crops. Welcoming his appointment, Mr Ward said: “I am hugely excited about joining BGA at such a critical time for the UK horticulture sector. The security, affordability and sustainability of food supplies are high on the political agenda, and there is renewed emphasis on the need to support a productive, resilient and innovative UK farming sector.” “A key challenge for BGA is to ensure that the UK’s £3.7bn horticulture industry is recognised as a high-value sector, with huge potential to boost output, jobs and home-grown consumption. “Britain’s fresh produce growers are the starting point in a dynamic and highly efficient supply chain, serving UK consumers with a year-round choice of top quality fresh fruit and vegetables. The success of that supply chain depends on strong partnerships and collaboration from field to supermarket shelf.”“It also depends on having the right conditions in place to support today’s hi-tech horticulture businesses, across planning and utility issues, availability of skilled and seasonal labour, access to modern seed and crop protection tools, and securing a fair share of the research budget.” “These are all priority issues for BGA as the horticulture sector looks to expand production, increase efficiency and reduce the £4bn UK trade gap in fresh produce,” said Mr Ward. BGA chairman Mark Leggott said: “In recent years BGA has significantly enhanced its contribution to the UK horticulture sector, both through the services provided to grower members and as a voice for the industry as a whole. “In taking that process forward, we are therefore delighted to have recruited a new chief executive of the calibre and experience of Jack Ward, whose strong background in training and skills, government relations and business development will further strengthen BGA’s leadership role in promoting the UK fresh produce sector and unlocking its future potential.” Mr Ward succeeds James Hallett, who left BGA earlier this year to take on a senior role in the animal feed sector.