The UK’s arable sector was well represented at a glittering award ceremony in the House of Commons for the Food & Farming Industry Awards organised by Farm Business magazine. Guest of honour was Sir Christopher Meyer, former British ambassador to the United States.
Suffolk-based business RG Abrey Farms won the night’s top accolade and was named Farm Business of the Year.
RG Abrey Farms is a third-generation family farming business growing combinable crops, sugar beet and specialising in early new season root vegetable production with modern storage for year-round supply. The business has grown to 3,000 hectares.
Giles Abrey, a partner of the business, said: “Our progressive approach is geared towards energy efficient production which is environmentally sympathetic targeting the highest accreditation standards.
“We have invested more than £8 million in the last 3 years to help drive our business forward for the next generation. We have a ‘Vision’ for the future, which helps to highlight our top four drivers: people, technology, innovation and cost control.”
Agronomist of the Year
The Agronomist of the Year went to Chares Wright of Farmacy, who received credit for helping his customers beyond the call of duty and for his work in looking at the future of agronomy.
Outstanding Contribution to Farming
Neil Parish MP won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Farming for his work as chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. EFRA last week called on the Government to introduce legislation into the Agriculture Bill to ensure imported food products are held to current British standards as part of any future trade deal.
Farm Innovation of the Year
A £2m investment, which included eight storage reservoirs for irrigation and 40km of underground mains, has enabled Andrew Williams of Home Farm Nacton to get more consistent yields each year. Ithas also invested in buildings to store, cure and refrigerate onions up to 5,400 tonnes.
Farm Manager of the Year
Andrew Francis of Elveden Farms won the Farm Manager of the Year award. He is responsible for 7,700 hectares. As farms director in the business, his role has changed to a more strategic level with four farm managers, a store and technical manager reporting into him.
Family Business of the Year
The Family Business of the Year went to the Nicholson family from Cannon Hall Farm in South Yorkshire. The business has a completely joined up approach to food production, preparation and service; from field to fork, on one site.