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MorePeople 5 Questions - Adam White

10 months ago by Natalie Smith

Adam White is the Head of Agriculture for Barclays Business. Responsible for a team of dedicated Agriculture and Landed Estates managers across the UK, who support farming and land based businesses through a range of projects such as diversification, sustainability and growth.

He studied at the University of Greenwich, followed by an MBA at the University of Lincoln and a qualification in Sustainable Finance at the University of Cambridge. Adam is also a Member and regular speaker at the Institute of Agricultural Management.

He also serves as a trustee of the East Anglia Agricultural Society supporting with industry engagement and growing the next generation, alongside showcasing UK Agriculture and food systems across urban areas and within schools.

What's the single biggest challenge facing our industry today?

A nice easy question to start with! In my view, it is balancing the competing demands of different stakeholders across the food sector. Those demands are for food security and food quality at the same time as improving bio diversity and carbon capture, which is a difficult balance to strike for the food sector, so forward planning becomes even more important. Having a plan for the next year is important, but thinking ahead about food and food production 5-10 years into the future is vital.

What do you think the next big product / piece of tech will be?

I truly believe it will be as simple as supply chain reporting, I remember a shoe company telling me they could not call their leather sustainable as they had no traceability in their supply chain. The Irish system works very well in tracking produce from farm to fork and being able to evidence the sustainability of that product is fantastic for the whole supply chain. We are already starting to see this in dairy which has benefits for farmers, food producers and consumers and add value all the way along the supply chain.

What do you like most about our industry?

I love the innovation in every part of the supply chain. Food production has a perception of being quite boring and old fashioned, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Be it on farm technology and practice or food production technology and robotics, not to mention the whole science of carbon storage and nature restoration.

What was your first ever job in our industry?

My first role was as a commercial director for the Agriculture team, it was quite intimidating coming into a sector I didn’t know a lot about. On my first day a colleague told me, if you don’t know just ask, farmers are experts and will tell you everything openly, which is still true today.

What piece of advice would you like to give to your 21-year-old self?

Everyday is a school day. If you aren’t learning anything new you are standing still. Put yourself in positions where you learn and are exposed to new ideas.