Our approach is different to the other guys, with a commitment to giving all our clients a high quality, hands-on service delivered at all times by experienced senior executives. This means, from start to finish, we’ll help you to develop and deliver an effective marketing campaign.
You’ll find no Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none here, with our ranging skill sets and industry expertise allowing us to zero in on your area of need.
Matt was born and brought up on his family’s farm in Staffordshire. It was a mixed farm so Matt was encouraged to get involved in a variety of farm work and would often help on neighbouring farms too. He chose to pursue his passion for farming at university and graduated from Wye College with a degree in Agriculture.
Fresh out of university, Matt was still keen to be hands-on and worked for a relief milking agency which paved the way for him joining ADAS as a Dairy Husbandry Advisor. In his role he travelled extensively to advise farmers on milking, feeding, housing and breeding dairy cattle. This role helped him identify his passion for writing and communicating complex issues to farmers and he took a leap of faith.
Matt became a feature writer for Stock Magazine. He wrote about beef, sheep and dairy predominately, and in doing so began to understand the need for quality content in the agricultural sector. In 1989 Matt moved to the UK’s leading agricultural PR agency, Agrafax, and progressed to become a divisional director in just six years. He saw the need for PR services in the agricultural sector was growing and set up his own agency in 1995. Agribusiness Communications, or ABC for short, was born.
Matt is still passionate about communicating to farmers. He is always keen to understand technological advancements and changes that affect both the arable and livestock sectors. This is because Matt is still a farmer himself. His small holding in the Shropshire Hills is a welcome contrast to the desk job and helps him to stay in touch with the practical side of farming. He rears beef cattle, sheep and pigs, and is a staunch supporter of sustainable farming. Matt is also a proud veg grower and takes great pleasure in serving up a meal to his wife and four children that has been grown and reared on his land.
David was interested in animal biology from a young age, which led to him completing a degree in Agricultural Science at Leeds University. Not from a farming background, his interest was firmly in the science of agriculture, rather than practical hands-on farming. Following graduation, he was keen to apply his technical knowledge within the agricultural supply industry and secured a graduate trainee role with Pauls Agriculture. Three years later he moved to feed supplement specialist Colborn Dawes, where he spent a further two years as a commercial nutritionist followed by a period in product management.
To gain a more well-rounded understanding and a greater appreciation of business, David chose to take a year out to study for an MBA, spending 12 months at Warwick University. This ignited his interest in marketing communications, particularly within agriculture. He immediately saw an opportunity to combine his skill sets and joined leading agricultural sector PR agency Agrafax (part of the Mistral Group) in 1991. David soon built up a reputation for helping clients strategically in the livestock sector, particularly in the animal health and nutrition arenas. He became an associate director at Agrafax within three years and helped establish a new office for the company, in Oxford, in 1995.
Seeing an opportunity to grow a new, strategy-driven specialist PR agency working for blue chip agri-sector, food chain and land-based businesses, David joined Matt in 1997 to develop ABC. His primary technical specialism is still animal health and nutrition and he enjoys working with clients on bringing PR campaigns to life. A keen strategist, he helps clients with all aspects of the marketing mix.
David has two children, Tom and Ellie, and lives in rural Shropshire with his wife Claire. He is a qualified cricket coach who now enjoys watching his son develop into a much better cricketer than David ever was, whilst also still turning out occasionally for Alberbury, his local village team. David can regularly be found on the golf course, but often chooses to leave the clubs at home to simply go for long walks or mountain bike rides in the Shropshire Hills. His perfect weekend is hiking a lakeside fell armed with a traditional OS map, so long as he finishes up in a good pub.
Chris graduated with a degree in Applied Biology. During his degree he had opportunities in industry and chose to spend them exploring a range of agricultural sectors – working in variety evaluations and for two crop protection manufacturers. After graduation Chris conducted crop protection field trials, working on a diverse range of crops, from cereals, potatoes and sugar beet to vegetables and fruit, and became BASIS qualified before spending some time in sales and marketing roles.
Chris has always been a keen writer and, in 1993, he made a move away from working in the Ag industry to working for it by joining a PR agency. He built up his clients and worked his way through the ranks becoming a portfolio manager before he left to join ABC in 2001. Chris has experience of working with machinery, livestock, crop protection, nutrient, seeds, consultancy and agronomy brands. Despite more than 25 years’ experience, Chris still gets a buzz out of tackling a marketing challenge, producing content that answers the brief and seeing his work in print and online.
From a young age Chris has been enchanted by anything with an internal combustion engine. He got his first motorbike at 15 and has maintained his interest in motorbikes and cars ever since. He is an F1 enthusiast and enjoys watching races, and goes skiing whenever he gets the chance. At other times, Chris also enjoys occasional watercolour painting, more recently trying painting with gouache.
Paul grew up on a dairy farm on the Cheshire-Welsh border where his family were tenant farmers with a herd of 280 cows. Whilst Paul didn’t share his father’s love of cow management, he did enjoy the machinery side of farming. However, it was clear that there was never going to be a long-term future for him driving tractors, so, unsure of his career path, he decided to go to university and see where life took him.
Following four years studying, Paul spent the next 12 years working in the dairy sector – firstly in dairy manufacturing and latterly as a farm liaison officer for a milk buying group – and so, despite trying, had not distanced himself too far from his dairying roots. Towards the end of this period, Paul was given the opportunity to move into farmer communications and gained his CIPR diploma, thereby paving the way for him to join ABC.
A perfectionist and a stickler for punctuation and grammar, Paul can’t even send a text message with abbreviated language. He enjoys being a part of the wider farming community and loves to spend time outside, venturing down farm drives. Finding ABC gave Paul the opportunity to join a respected communications brand and to work with clients across a variety of agricultural sectors.
Today Paul helps clients to communicate with their audiences via traditional press and print channels, social media, online and at shows and events. His key skill is to take a complex subject such as ‘crop protection chemistry’ or ‘the use of micro technologies to analyse livestock behaviour’ and communicate them in a simple, down to earth format which is relevant to farmers. His reward is seeing his words in print and knowing that the client’s message has been accurately communicated.
When he’s not writing Paul quite simply can’t sit still, it’s not in his nature. He channels this energy by getting out and about on two wheels: his early interest in farm machinery has transferred across to motorbikes but he also enjoys two wheels without an engine: to celebrate his 40th birthday he covered the 1,049 miles from Lands’ End to John O’ Groats in just 10 days.
Laura was raised on an American ranch in the heart of the Flint Hills of Kansas where her family breeds purebred Red Angus cattle for commercial beef producers in North and South America. A “proper” cowgirl, she spent her youth working on her family’s ranch, while learning about the science and technology that goes into beef and rangeland management.
From an early age, Laura has combined her passion for agriculture with her interest in communications. What began with her regularly disappearing into the hills with a camera to photograph cows, turned into a strong interest in writing and design.
After graduating High School, Laura took a scholarship to join the meats judging team for Fort Scott Community College. Here, she learned how to grade beef carcasses to USDA standards, and assess beef, pork and lamb for quality and cutability.
From there, Laura went on to receive a degree in Animal Sciences and Industry, and Agricultural Communications and Journalism from Kansas State University.
Following graduation Laura secured a role with FarmTalk Newspaper, covering agricultural news in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Having gained valuable experience at the weekly newspaper, Laura was able to land her dream job at Drovers Magazine, the oldest beef publication in the USA. It was here that Laura could once again indulge her two passions of traveling and covering news, management practices and producer stories for the beef industry.
From her family’s experience in exporting genetics to her time at Drovers, Laura’s interest in international agricultural business was fostered. In 2017, Laura made the trip across the pond to pursue her international career by joining ABC. Her agricultural background, journalistic experience and interest in marketing made the venture a perfect fit for ABC and Laura.
Since the move, life has been very good to Laura. She has embraced the UK agricultural industry and its people, and can be found most weekends helping feed cattle, moving electric fences or baling straw during harvest. In her free time, you can find her hiking in the Yorkshire Dales or enjoying a pint of Black Sheep bitter.
Tom grew up in England’s city of steel, Sheffield. He attended Lancaster University and spent a year at university in New York studying American Literature. A keen writer from a young age, Tom produced his school and university college magazines. Following graduation in 2003 he worked as an account manager in three marketing agencies before the bubble burst in 2009 following the recession.
Sitting with a copy of the local newspaper’s job section, Tom’s wife saw an advert for ‘Sales & Marketing Manager: Earl of Plymouth Estates’ and prompted him to apply with “you’ll get that” as words of encouragement. She was right! During the following six years Tom developed the marketing for an 8000-acre estate, including its highlight, the Ludlow Food Centre. He developed a marketing strategy for the estate that helped to grow the turnover of its group of food and hospitality businesses from £1.7 million to over £5 million in five years. Along the way he gained a great appreciation of farming practices and food production, becoming a prominent figure in the ‘farm to fork’ movement. Tom also volunteered to be on the board of directors at Shropshire Tourism, spending five years helping to steer the organisation which included two years as Financial Director.
Following a year as Head of Marketing at regional land agent and livestock auctioneer Halls, Tom joined ABC in 2019. He brings with him a skill set of marketing strategy and a track record of increasing the turnover of the brands he has worked with. At ABC Tom works with clients on planning, budgeting and strategy whilst still finding time to indulge in his passion for writing content.
Tom enjoys swimming and rises before 6am to do a mile in his local swimming pool before work. This helps him balance his love of food: a keen cook, Tom prepares meals from scratch every night and still sources his meat from the estate he worked at. Tom has been with his wife Katharine since he was 18. She and his son William, who was born in 2017, are the centre of his world and he loves nothing more than to spend time with them, preferably near or on a beach.
Born in Coventry but raised in Scotland, Sarah started out working for Mobil on a youth training scheme. She has always worked in telecoms and has a wealth of experience in business support. Sarah worked for Boots, BT and Roche before she made the move to Shrewsbury in the 1980’s. In Shrewsbury she spent 13 years working as a receptionist and cashier for a solicitor after having secured her first role in agricultural marketing with Agrafax.
In her role at Agrafax, Sarah led a support team that assisted Matt Mellor and David Butler who subsequently started ABC. Sarah has been with ABC since 2006. She assists the team by proofing and issuing client press releases, managing press lists, subscriptions and client advertising plans. She also helps organise an ever-increasingly complex schedule of work and meetings for our consultants.
Away from the office, Sarah is an avid reader with a passion for both fiction and non-fiction. She has two sons, Brodie and Finlay, who – when she can prise them away from their computer screens – she enjoys trips to the cinema and ten-pin bowling with. When the opportunity arises for some ‘me time’ Sarah appreciates getting out on the town for a night of live music and dancing. In more recent years Sarah has caught the travel bug and last year went to New York, Barcelona and Portugal on her travels. Next up is Prague!
You know the saying “Getting to Denmark” which references the transformation of weak states into well-functioning developed countries? (It’s ok if you didn’t.) At ABC, we like to think of it as “Getting to Caro.”
Since the start of the company, Caro has been the linchpin of the business, flawlessly holding everything together with equal parts elbow grease and brain power. With 30 years’ worth of agency accounting experience, Caro has turned the financial side of ABC into a well-oiled machine. Her efficient and meticulous work eases the paperwork burden of invoicing and paying suppliers.
Growing up on a beef, dairy and sheep farm, agriculture has had a constant influence on Caro’s life. There’s nothing she enjoys more than the start of a new life during calving, and nothing more grounding than dealing with copious amounts of livestock passports and movement forms for the farm.
A fair-weather cyclist, Caro can make a mean coffee and walnut cake, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.