National Beef Association finds successor to Forster

A senior Defra livestock specialist and farmer's son, is to take over from National Beef Association (NBA) chief executive Robert Forster, when he retires from his post at the end of July.

Stuart Roberts, who hails from a family farm in Hertfordshire and is well-known for his work with the beef sector on the replacement of the OTM rule, with a robust testing regime for older cattle in November 2005, has been appointed as NBA director.

Roberts is currently leading policy development for Defra on cost-sharing and animal health and welfare responsibility.

"It was always going to be a tough call to replace Robert, but we are sure that Stuart is the right man and I am delighted that the association has secured his appointment," said NBA chairman, Duff Burrell.

"He was the first Defra official to win a Nuffield Farming Trust Scholarship and, as head of TSE testing in Defra until April last year, he was pivotal in securing the smooth removal of the OTM rule and the return of UK beef and cattle to the export market.

"Our recruitment of a man who can combine first-hand agricultural experience with similar first-hand knowledge of government confirms the status of the NBA and will help it to continue to develop its already good reputation," Burrell said.