Rodney Clifford, head cider maker at Aston Manor Cider has been appointed to a senior role with the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), the trade body for the industry.
He will lead on pomology issues – pomology being the science and development of fruit growing and orchard management.
In recognition of his level of skills and experience, Rodney is responsible for ensuring standards of the UK cider fruit are kept at a high level and for helping to drive innovation and education in the sector. He will also act as an intermediary between farmers and producers, focusing on orchard husbandry.
At Aston Manor Cider, Rodney has managed Aston Manor’s largest ever planting scheme. Increasing their orchards by 1,000 acres, a total of 400,000 new trees added to the landscape by 2018. Aston Manor is the UK’s largest independent cider maker, producing over 250 million pints of cider a year.
Commenting on his new role, Rodney Clifford, said: “I am incredibly pleased to have been given this role with the NACM. I have been in the cider industry for many years and it means a lot to be able to share my skills and experience to protect and develop an industry I feel so passionately about.
“The cider industry has made great strides. From when I first started out and apples were handpicked in the orchards, technology has evolved so much that the other day I saw my first driverless tractor.
“Innovation is key to ensuring growers and producers thrive. There are things we can do to improve what happens in the orchards such as producing trees that crop earlier in the season and varieties that are more resilient to disease – areas that I want to focus on in my role. Whilst all the time becoming more sustainable and enhancing the natural environment.
“Provenance is increasingly important to consumers – people want to know where their food and drink comes from and how it is made. By providing a link between the orchard and the glass of cider being enjoyed is enormously worthwhile for producers and consumers alike.”
The Pomology Group, with Rodney at the helm, meet to discuss key matters affecting the industry and develop a range of policies as well as commissioning research.
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