The Kent County Agricultural Society welcomes Julian Barnes as the new Chairman after James Forknall finishes his three year term. The Society elected Julian at the recent AGM and gave thanks to James for his dedicated service through a very difficult period.

Julian started his working life on a small family run apple farm in Biddenden. The early days of farm diversification saw a vineyard planted which is now the oldest established vineyard in Kent and continuously run in the UK. In the late 70’s further product development led to the introduction of cider and apple juice marketed under the Biddenden brand. Julian runs Biddenden Vineyards alongside his wife Sally and third generation sons Tom, Sam and Will. They are past winners of the English wine of the Year competition and Camra Cider of year. He is a former Chairman of English Wine Producers and Ashford and Tenterden tourism association, sat on the Board of Produced in Kent and was voted Kent Food and Drink Hero 2016 by Kent Life. Julian has a keen interest in the showground having exhibited at the Kent County Show continually for over 39 years. He believes it to be an important shop window for the county, connecting agriculture and the countryside with those that live around it.

Ex-Chair James Forknall (right) and Chair Julian Barnes (left)

Julian is also joined by Jan Loraine as the Society’s new Vice-Chair. Jan previously held the role of Agricultural Manager at Barclays where she worked for 39 years within the agriculture sector.

We want to thank James Forknall for all the time he’s devoted to the Society throughout his time in office, all the interests he has developed on the Society’s behalf, and his unwavering commitment which has helped the Society overcome the challenges of the pandemic. We wish Julian the best of luck stepping into the role.