The Jersey Royal Company has become Jersey’s first LEAF Demonstration Farm in recognition of its exceptionally high environmental standards and long-term commitment to delivering more sustainable farming.
Launched on the 28th May 2020, by global sustainable farming organisation, LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming), The Jersey Royal Company joins a UK wide network as the 40th Demonstration Farm, showcasing sustainable farming practices and acting as centres of excellence for learning and knowledge exchange.
The Jersey Royal Company has a long-standing association with LEAF and were the first farm on the Island to become members in 1996. They went on to achieve LEAF Marque certification in 2005 – the gold standard for sustainable farming production. More recently, the business has been instrumental in driving forward a ground-breaking partnership with The Government of Jersey, which saw all the Island’s dairy and arable farmers becoming LEAF Marque certified at the end of last year – making Jersey the first LEAF Marque Island in the world.
The Jersey Royal Company is the largest farmer on the Island, farming around 8,300 vergées (1,800 ha) annually across 1,800 fields, and employing up to 450 staff. It is a completely integrated business, growing, harvesting, grading, packing and marketing Jersey Royal new potatoes to retailers, wholesalers, packers and processors. The company invests heavily in R&D to modify and continually improve growing techniques to get a better, more consistent potato to supply to the market. LEAF’s sustainable farming principles of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) are integral to the business. Building soil resilience, careful water management, enhancing biodiversity, and employing innovative techniques for pest control such as cover crops and biofumigation are just some of the ways the business is responding to the challenges of producing the world-renowned Jersey potatoes at scale in an environmentally responsible way.
Speaking on the announcement, William Church, Director of Sales and Marketing Director at The Jersey Royal Company said: “Becoming a LEAF Demonstration Farm signals the culmination of many years of hard work and commitment to building the longer-term resilience of the business. We have a long tradition of being forward looking, innovative, open to trying new technology and ideas. Our aim has always been to develop a business that is robust, viable and sustainable.
“LEAF very much reflects our business ethos of protecting and enhancing our natural resources like soil, water and biodiversity. We have got this incredible brand which people want but you have to maintain competitiveness and LEAF helps us to do just this.
“We are hugely proud to become Jersey’s first LEAF Demonstration Farm and are incredibly excited about what it means to the further development of the business, the industry as a whole in Jersey, and more broadly, building on our role as champions of sustainable farming and strengthening our reach to other farmers to share best practice. We are always learning; being part of a network of like-minded farmers, particularly as the Island looks to become carbon neutral by 2030, offers an exciting platform to share ideas, expertise and insights into more climate friendly, regenerative farming techniques.”
Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive of LEAF added: “As we embark on an exciting new era for agriculture and as LEAF heads towards its landmark 30th anniversary next year, we remain as committed as ever to bold, ambitious, creative and courageous approaches to delivering more sustainable food production. Through our LEAF Marque environmental assurance system, we are working to ensure strong market incentives to drive uptake of regenerative farming. But we cannot act alone. Our network of Demonstration Farms is absolutely central to how we will meet our objectives. They represent some of the smartest and visionary businesses in agriculture, committed to a world where agriculture is productive, efficient, and sustainable and where farmers are recognised and rewarded for their sustainability commitments.
“We are delighted to welcome The Jersey Royal Company as our first Demonstration Farm in Jersey. They have shown incredible drive and vision over many years. What they have achieved as a business and as a LEAF trailblazer on the Island is testament to their determination and pioneering approach. We greatly look forward to our continuing partnership.”
The official launch of The Jersey Royal Company took place on 28th May 2020 by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Dalton GCB. The event was attended by LEAF Chairman, Tom Green and Chief Executive, Caroline Drummond. During the launch event William Church and Mike Renouard from The Jersey Royal Company provided a virtual farm tour of the business and outlined how the farm implements Integrated Farm Management to achieve more sustainable farming, as well as sharing real life examples of how production and conservation go hand in hand.