Honorary doctorates for leading agri-tech experts from Harper Adams University

Two businesswomen at the forefront of the agri-food sector are the latest recipients of honorary degrees from Shropshire's Harper Adams University.

Dr Jude Capper (left) and Dr Judith Batchelar
Dr Jude Capper (left) and Dr Judith Batchelar

The honorary degrees were conferred upon the nominees at a special virtual ceremony in late March.

At their conferment both Judith Batchelar OBE, director of corporate responsibility, sustainability and public affairs at Sainsbury’s; and leading independent livestock sustainability consultant Dr Jude Capper, received honorary DSc degrees for their significant contributions to their respective fields.

Judith, a biochemist and registered nutritionist, has more than three decades’ experience in the food and drink industry – and received her award in particular recognition of her work at national level on a range of Government advisory bodies on food and farming, and her promotion of resilient and sustainable farming and food systems.

Harper Adams University's deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Michael Lee, said: “Judith Batchelar’s career has seen her not only playing a leading role at the heart of some of our most recognisable food and drink companies – but also driving forward sustainable food and farming solutions and the agri-tech strategy.

“That work – from her co-chairing of the AgriTech Leadership council between 2015 and 2018, right through to her current roles on the Food and Drink Sector Council, the Food Farming and Countryside Commission, the Made Smarter Commission, the National Environment Research Council, and more – has transformed agriculture and food production in the UK.

“It is a pleasure to recognise her many achievements with this Honorary Doctorate.”

In welcoming her award, Judith said: “To receive this honorary doctorate from Harper Adams University is a humbling moment for me. I have been lucky enough to pursue a career in a sector that I love, to work with people I respect and admire, and to have had the opportunity to contribute to our collective ambition to develop healthy, sustainable, and resilient food and farming systems.

“To be recognised for this not just for myself, but on behalf of my fellow collaborators, gives me huge pleasure.”

Alumna

Meanwhile Dr Capper – the winner of the 2018 Farmers Guardian British Farming Awards' Farming Hero of the Year – received her award in recognition of her contribution to the UK livestock industry, where she has worked to build a greater understanding of the global importance of livestock production and communicate its importance to a wider audience.

She said: “As a proud Harper Adams alumna from a non-agricultural background, I am so grateful for the award of this wonderful degree. It is a joy and a privilege to work with the best livestock industry in the world, and I will do my very best to live up to this incredible honour.”

Vice-chancellor Dr David Llewellyn said: “Dr Capper has played a significant role in promoting the understanding of sustainable livestock production, building on her research conducted in the USA and the UK.

“Jude is also helping the next generation of agriculturalists, through her activities in supporting the development of apprenticeships and her contributions to other national industry bodies. We are delighted to be able to add to the industry recognition that Jude has already received with the award of an honorary doctorate.

“Judith and Jude have made enormous contributions to their respective fields over the years and we hope that the honorary degrees we have conferred will demonstrate our appreciation for all they have accomplished in support of the UK’s agri-food sector.”

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