Hot on the heels of our announcement about switching to 100% British bacon and lamb, last week the Co-op Agriculture and Farming team were ready to kick-off the first-ever Co-op Farming Conference in Manchester.

The conference was an opportunity to bring together the 300 farmers that make up the eight Co-op farming groups, and unite the growers, suppliers and buyers that enable us to stock our shelves with the highest quality British produce.

Given that we’ve pledged £1.5 billion investment into British sourcing over three years, the timing of this event was ideal, providing the perfect platform to underline our commitment to the UK farming industry.

During the conference, we announced the Co-op’s support of the National Farmer’s Union’s (NFU) fruit and veg pledge. Designed to cultivate long lasting relationships between retailers and growers, we’ve agreed to fulfil a number of NFU requirements including the fair treatment of our suppliers, advance planning on promotions and investment in horticultural research.

One of our longest standing meat suppliers, Jim Dobson, CEO of Dunbia, gave his thoughts on why long-term relationships are the most fruitful. Ian Prentice, Chairman of the Co-op Dairy Group, who had left his herd in Dumfriesshire for the day, went on to explain how longevity and stability has at last been returned to his industry through this ground-breaking collective partnership.

Stepping outside of the world of agriculture, Chris Boardman MBE offered conference-goers an extraordinary insight into how he went from being a shy eight year old from the Wirral to an Olympic gold medal winning, triple word-record holding cyclist. For those of you wondering, the 48 year-old attributes his overwhelming success down to a positive attitude.

Celebrating farming excellence across all of the Co-op’s farming groups, here is the full list of winners:

Co-op Dairy Farmer of the Year: Ian and Sandy Milne, Carry Farms
Co-op Beef Farmer of the Year: Steve Jones, Winston Farm
Co-op Lamb Farmer of the Year: Huw Davies, Cambrian Lamb Group
Co-op Pork Farmer of the Year: James Bodman, Windsmere Farms
Co-op Poultry Farmer of the Year: Jim Bone, Beechgrove Farm
Co-op Animal Welfare Champion of the Year: Martin Baker, Midlands Pig Producer
Co-op Farming Ambassador of the Year: Grant and Richard Walker, Lakehead Farm, Dumfries
Co-op Outstanding Farmer of the Year: James Bodman, Windsmere Farms

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Very proud to see this initiative as a member of the Co-op. Trust is ever important and pleased to see co-operation in action.


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