Board of Trustees

Jim Godfrey

Chair, Board of Trustees


Jim Godfrey, OBE, DSc, currently serves as the chair of the IRRI Board of Trustees, a position he has occupied since 2016. Jim has a strong professional experience in the management and growth of large-scale farms. He is director of the Godfrey farming companies based in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. The companies produce a wide range of products such as potatoes, cereals, and sugar beet, peas and pigs.

Jim is passionate about the role of agriculture innovation in shaping national economic development in the UK and abroad. In addition to his duties as chair of the IRRI Board of Trustees, he is currently chair of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and a director of the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network. Jim also serves as a member of the UK Agri-Food Technology Council and the steering group on Food and Farming Futures. He was also recently named as the President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, for an appointment term of two years beginning January 1 2018. He is a previous Vice President of the society. As President of the society he succeeds Baroness Hazel Byford, member of the House of Lords and Sir John Beddington, former UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser.

Prior to IRRI, Jim served as chair of the Commercial Farmers Group which promotes a competitive and resilient UK agricultural sector. He was also chair of Innovate UK Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform (SAFIP) which supported and speeded up bringing research and technologies to the market, thus increasing greater economic output for the UK economy. Jim has also contributed to improving the corporate governance of 15 CGIAR centers during his time as chair of the Alliance Board of the CGIAR centers.

Jim is renowned for his work and leadership in agriculture research and innovation. His various recognitions include an OBE for services to agricultural research in Scotland (2002), the World Potato Congress Industry Award (2006), an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Reading (2007), the Potato Council Award (2008), and the National Agricultural Award of the Royal Agricultural Society of England (2015). He is a fellow of both the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS, 2000) and the Institute of Directors (FloD, 2004).