Our staff

Meet some of our dedicated farming staff and download our contacts guide here.

Janet Blikmans

Janet grew up in the Netherlands and qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Utrecht University in 1998. After qualifying, she spent 15 years working as a farm animal vet in several practices in the Netherlands, UK and New Zealand. She has greatly enjoyed working with a wide variety of (organic) farmers, building relationships with regular clients and looking after the welfare and health of farm animals. She has been in the UK since 1999 and spent the last eight years working in Wiltshire with mostly dairy cattle, but also beef, sheep, alpacas, goats and other farm animals. In May 2013, she started at Soil Association Certification as senior certification manager. In this role she is using her practical experience to develop certification services to the benefit of our organic licensees.

Janet Blikmans

Finn Cottle

Finn spent more than 20 years working for two of the major supermarket groups in the UK, running buying departments across the fresh food sector. This has given her a wide range of experience within both food manufacturing, supply chain and category management for retail. In 2006, she joined the Board of Noble Foods as Marketing & Strategy Director, giving her first hand experience of supplying food into supermarkets as well as bringing her closer to farming and animal welfare issues.

In 2009 Finn took up the opportunity to work with SA Certification as a Trade Consultant, to help build relationships with licensees and drive growth within the organic market. Her experience has proved to be invaluable in considering the challenges which the organic sector faces: she has a specific focus on Dairy where she spent a big part of her retail career.

Finn enjoys working with organic companies and the passion with which they approach their business. Her shopping basket is now much fuller of organic products as she has gradually been converted.

Finn Cottle

Nathan Elliot

Nathan graduated from The Royal Agricultural College in 2009 after completing a Diploma in Agriculture and Farm Management, and a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture and Land Management. Having gained experience as an agricultural contractor, he is now our lead certification officer in the cereal sector and looks after many of our certified seed mills. At the weekends he can usually be found fixing up his Ferguson tractor or helping out around local farms.

Nathan Elliott 

Dona Frost

Dona grew up on an organic farm in west Wales, which grows vegetables for its own fresh produce business, as well as running a flock of Llanwennog sheep. Between working in retail food businesses in Aberystwth, Bristol and Germany, Dona has worked on tomato farms in northern Australia and a herb farm on Vancouver Island. She has a keen interest in food production and supply chains, and started working at the Soil Association in 2005 as an administrator before joining the producer team as a certification officer. Dona’s main responsibilities lie with our horticultural licensees, including those based internationally who grow exotic crops such as fruits, nuts and tea.

Dona Frost

Rob George

Rob has a farming background and on leaving school went on to study mechanics and engineering, following both of these with an honours degree in agriculture from Harper Adams University college in Shropshire. His studies are complemented by extensive practical experience working on the wide range of jobs found on dairy, sheep and arable farms.

Rob started with SA Certification in 2002 as a certification officer, moving to an advisory role as a senior technical officer for the charity for two years. After this he took the role of producer technical manager back with SA Certification where he answers a wide range of queries from licensees, certification officers, inspectors and Defra. He also works with the certification and quality teams in order to reduce unnecessary red tape and is an inspector for producers.

Rob George

Evita Gonzalez

Evita studied her bachelor degree in Animal Science at Aberystwyth University, where she specialised in farm animals and wrote a dissertation on improving the carcass composition of lamb. She later studied a masters in Meat Science at Bristol University where her interest in animal welfare led to her dissertation on the effects of keel bone fractures in laying hens. She still has her favourite hen that she rescued from the project! She has worked for SA Certification since 2010 and is now our lead certification officer for poultry. In her free time she likes to run with her dog, ride her pony and work on her allotment.

Evita Gonzalez

Claire Gordon

Claire works as a senior certification officer and specialises in table poultry and egg production. Her main interest, and the reason she joined the SA Certification, is farm animal welfare. Claire has a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in applied animal behaviour and animal welfare. Claire joined SA Certification in 2008 following a research post at Warwick University which focused on the health and welfare of livestock.

Claire Gordon 

Andrew Griffiths

Andrew grew up on a small dairy farm in mid Wales, where his father now contract rears dairy heifers and runs a flock of Kerry Hill sheep. He still occasionally travels back home to help out at weekends. Andrew studied for an honours degree in Agriculture with Countryside Management at Aberystwyth University. Since graduating in 2008, he worked on a sheep farm in Herefordshire and then went on to work as an underwriting assistant at a livestock insurance firm based in Norfolk. He is particularly interested in small scale food enterprises, and has a passion for rare breeds of livestock. He started working at the Soil Association in May 2013 as a certification officer in the producer team. Andrew's main licensee base are organic beef and sheep farms, predominantly in Wales and the south west of England.

Andrew Griffiths 

Sarah Hathway

Sarah graduated from the Royal Agricultural College and went to run a mixed holding for several years before joining SA Certification in 2000 as a certification officer. Her knowledge allowed her to move quickly on to becoming certification manager. Sarah’s technical ability and practical approach was recognised early and she became the first producer technical manager in 2003. Her in-depth knowledge of licensees and standards development has ensured a smooth implementation of new and revised areas of SA standards. She currently sits on the IFOAM standards committee.

Sarah has dealt with many complicated farming models over the years and her practical solutions have gained her the respect of licensees and colleagues both in SA Certification and the charity. A good portion of her time is spent in discussion with licensees and investigating their new and innovative techniques in organic farming.

Her limited spare time is spent introducing her young family to farming life or indulging her passion as a keen horse woman.

Sarah Hathway

Tom Hartley

Tom studied horticulture with global plant use at Duchy College, Cornwall before gaining extensive practical experience at Farrington’s Farm Shop. There he was responsible for both growing veg and running the box scheme, as well as ensuring the supply of vegetables to local Food for Life award-winning schools. He has been a certification officer since 2010 and looks after many of our horticultural licensees, as well as a number of seed mills and also our certified inputs scheme. Outside of work Tom can often be found on his allotment experimenting with unusual vegetable varieties.

Tom Hartley

Laura Kreicala

Laura joined the certification team in 2008, having previously worked in farm animal genetics. She has an MSc in Animal Welfare and Animal Behaviour from Edinburgh University which involved working on pig farms with Scottish Agricultural College and Grampian. Previously Laura worked as Certification Manager and since returning from maternity leave her role involves managing new projects within the certification business.

Laura Kreicala

Madeleine Neale

Madeleine graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2001. She has worked in mixed practices for several years and has also been involved in the development and implementation of animal welfare standards.

The opportunity arose for SA Certification to work with the University of Bristol Veterinary College to help improve animal welfare. Madeleine was hired and she spent the next three years working full time with SA Certification and the University of Bristol to assist in implementing formal welfare assessment, within the certification process. In 2008 she became the first fully employed veterinary advisor to work with any certification body in the UK. In this role she continues to refine and improve welfare assessment along with providing veterinary knowledge and appropriate training to our staff. She was instrumental in securing the bid that has become the AssureWel project and will continue to be an integral part of the team that will ensure the success of AssureWel.

She currently lives in Sussex with her partner, who is a dairy farmer, and their young daughter.

Madeleine Neale

Sara Ogborne

Sara graduated with a BSc (Hons) in International Agricultural and Equine Business Management. Sara began work in the animal feed industry, at the same time sitting her AMTRA (animal medicine) exams; she is now a qualified farm, poultry, equine and companion animal SQP. Sara joined us on the certification team in 2011, and her work here is largely focused on the dairy, meat and feed mill sectors. When she’s not in the office, Sara’s time is dedicated to relief milking on her father’s organic dairy farm in Chew Valley.

Sarah Ogbourne

Ed Palairet

Ed studied BSc (Hons) Organic Agriculture at the University of Aberdeen before spending a few years working on a broad range of farms. In 2008 he moved to Bristol to work for SA Certification where he is now a senior certification officer responsible for a number of certified livestock and dairy farms. A highlight of 2013 has been a knowledge-sharing trip to rural parts of Uganda.

Ed Palairet

Susi Seward

Susi studied the anthropology of food and farming, as well as gaining a certificate in organic gardening and volunteering on various organic holdings across Europe. She is interested in both the cultural and practical aspects of our food systems, with a particular passion for community and education based farms. She has been part of the certification team since 2007 and is responsible for a number of our small-scale horticultural licensees, including those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. She also looks after many of our certified CSAs, care farms and permaculture projects. Follow her on twitter: @SusiSeward

Susi Seward

Caroline Sherrott

Caroline joined the producer certification team in 2007 after graduating from Harper Adams University. She grew up on a small farm near Hay-on-Wye where she helped manage a small sheep flock and herd of Jersey cows. She spent her university placement year at the Game Conservancy’s research farm in Leicestershire, and also has experience of delivering catchment sensitive farming advice to farmers along the River Wye. She is responsible for all of our aquaculture licensees, as well as looking after some certified feed mills and a number of livestock farms.

Caroline Sherrott

Stephen Smith

Stephen grew up on his family farm in Wiltshire. He studied Environmental Geography at Salford University where he did his dissertation on the Common Agricultural Policy. After graduating he worked for a farm consultancy firm before joining SA Certification in 2010. His work here mainly encompasses the meat (sheep and beef), dairy cattle and feed mill sectors. Outside of work he likes to head home and help out on the family farm as often as possible.

Stephen Smith 
Bookmark and Share