Tag Archives: LEAF Members

Frogmary Green Farm Joins Network of LEAF Demonstration Farms

We are delighted to welcome Frogmary Green Farm as a LEAF Demonstration Farm. LEAF’s nationwide network of over 40 LEAF Demonstration Farms showcase the very best of sustainable farming practices.

Nick and Claire Bragg run Frogmary Green Farm, a 500 acre poultry and arable farm, based on the edge of South Petherton in Somerset.  The farm also grows potatoes for supermarkets and maize and grass for fodder.  Frogmary Green Farm joined LEAF in 2008, became LEAF Marque certified in 2013 and regularly hosts both Open Farm Sunday and Open Farm Schools Days.

Frogmary LDF Launch

From Left to Right: Lord Cameron of Dillington (Dillington Farms), Nick Bragg (Frogmary Green Farm) , Patrick Wrixon (LEAF Board member), Claire Bragg (Frogmary Green Farm) and Caroline Drummond (LEAF Chief Executive)

Speaking at a lovely LEAF Demonstration Farm Launch event yesterday, Nick explained, “LEAF’s Integrated Farm Management (IFM) approach is all about striving to achieve balance across the whole farm. We’re working hard in lots of practical ways to conserve and enhance the natural environment by planting trees, creating wetland areas and cutting our carbon footprint.  All of us on the farm care deeply about our precious environment and want to do all we can to enhance it whilst producing food to the highest welfare and environmental standards.  “We are also passionate about bringing people onto the farm, to share what we are doing and help to break down some of the barriers that exist between producers and consumers.”

Frogmary Green Farm was officially welcomed to the network during yesterday’s event which included the planting of a large leaved lime tree by Lord Cameron of Dillington who spoke of the great work Nick and Claire are doing.

A short tour of the farm included a visit to one of the chicken houses, where one of Frogmary Green Farm’s main ‘crops’ can be seen through a viewing gallery. Nick and Claire were the first to install a biomass woodchip boiler for heating chicken houses, utilising locally sourced timber. Other discussions included potato production and more about their ongoing commitment to environmental enhancement such as through the planting of some 4 kilometres of hedgerows and over 500 trees since 2002. Pollen and nectar margins to provide extra habitat for bumblebees and other insects have also been established.  This has resulted in a huge variety of wildlife making its home at Frogmary Green Farm including cuckoo, linnet, song thrush, swift and whitethroat.

Nick and Claire Bragg Frogmary Green Farm, LEAF's latest demonstration farm

Nick and Claire Bragg,  Frogmary Green Farm, the latest LEAF Demonstration Farm

As a LEAF Demonstration Farm, Frogmary Green Farm will act as a ‘living classroom’ demonstrating and promoting the principles of Integrated Farm Management to opinion formers, educationalists, politicians, consumers and conservation groups as well as to community groups and local schools.

LEAF Demonstration Farms play a hugely vital role in sharing best practice amongst farmers as well as being a great way to help educate the public about how modern food production can co-exist with protecting nature and the countryside.  Frogmary Green Farm is an excellent example of sustainable farming in action and represents what Integrated Farm Management is all about.

If you are interested in visiting Frogmary Green Farm, or another LEAF Demonstration Farm, to learn more about Integrated Farm Management in practice, please get in touch with the LEAF office:

Advertisements

Preventing Run Off Successfully

In Britain we’ve just had the wettest April on record – despite Scotland seeing below average rainfall. In fact, some places saw as much as three times the normal expected rainfall.

This incredibly wet month comes just after a very dry March, which may have presented a few problems with run-off for many of our farmers in the UK. LEAF held two events in March on practical measures to improve water quality. At such a dry time, much of what we discussed at these events was theory based!

At Stratton Farms in Somerset, LEAF Demonstration Farmer, Jeremy Padfield, had a problem with run off on a particularly steep slope. Water was running off onto a road and down into a nearby village. To correct this, Jeremy dug a run off buffer in the field corner where the water was running through, which cost around £250 to implement, using a JCB and dump trailer.

Earlier this week Jeremy sent us some photos (taken 28th April), which clearly shows the impact the buffer has had during this wet month. For comparison, the second selection of photos show the run off buffer as they were exactly a month ago in March (28th).

28th April 2012:

28th March 2012:

You can see more of what Jeremy has done to help prevent run off on his farm in this video that was filmed in March.

President’s Event 2011 Round Up

LEAF’s President’s Event 2011 presented a fantastic line up of speakers from across the food and farming industry (even the brewing industry, actually!) and was attended by 130 delegates at HSBC Tower, Canary Wharf London.

Kicking off the day were the words of Allan Wilkinson, HSBC Head of Agriculture who spoke on CAP reform, “I have always been an admirer of LEAF – I think your time is now, particularly with CAP reform”.

LEAF Chairman, Stephen Fell (above), followed again on CAP reform but also spoke with real passion on taking LEAF forward. Keynote speaker Professor Sir David Baulcombe, then explained about the growing opportunities
for plant genetics to meet the needs of a growing population. His talk created quite a stir among the audience and questions were mainly focused on the topic of genetics during discussions. Sir David was clear in stating that “new genetics have a place in sustainable agriculture”.

Andrew Burgess, Director of Agriculture, Produce World, then gave an inspiring presentation on what LEAF means to his business. But it was the discussions between himself, Professor Sir David Baulcombe and Stephen Fell on the topic of genetics which created the most stir, with calls for boldness but rigorous testing going forward.

Following a short coffee break, Dr Chris Brown, Head of Ethical and Sustainable sourcing at Asda, took to the stage and gave a fascinating insight into consumer attitudes to sustainable food.

Paul Dove of Molson Coors, outlined the company’s commitments behind their slogan “without great water, we can’t make great beer”, which has led to a strong involvement in the development of LEAF’s Water Management Tool. The tool was then introduced in more detail by Dr Lousie Manning, and then formally launched by Farming Minister, Jim Paice MP.

Speaking on the tool, Mr Paice said, “We’ve now got, with the launch of this instrument, a practical and realistic tool available to farmers, which promotes more sustainable farming practices which is also at the heart of the government’s approach”.

The Rt Hon Michael Jack then gave closing remarks before lunch, which was introduced by Tamsin Gane of Sodexo.

We would like to say a huge thank you to our fantastic host and President, Baroness Hazel Byford, and thank all to everyone who spoke and attended the event. For those of you who did not, we will be releasing some videos (one below more to come on our YouTube channel) from the event over the coming weeks, and you can catch up with some of the photos from the day in the gallery below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sustainable, Profitable Potatoes

Recently, Philip Case wrote for Farmer’s Weekly on the recent comments from Eric Anderson, senior agronomist at Scottish Agronomy, about the carbon footprint of potato crops. Urging potato growers to look closely at their carbon footprint, by paying close attention to water and soil management can pay dividends for crop profitability.

We know of several LEAF members doing exactly this. Whitewater Potatoes Ltd. supply their LEAF Marque potatoes to Walkers amongst many more, below you can see Gavin Janaway of Lodge Farm (Whitewater Potatoes Ltd.) talking about sustainable potato farming for the PepsiCo UK sustainable farming report 2010.

Another leading example is Jon Hammond, of T Hammond & Sons, a fresh produce grower on the outskirts of Nottingham producing potatoes among a variety of other crops. Using the LEAF Audit, they have been prompted into introducing trickle irrigation systems and seen a 30% reduction in water use.

T Hammond & Sons are currently planning a major development that will result in a fully sustainable manufacturing facility and fleet of vehicles that run on Bio Diesel.As Eric Anderson has pointed out, there are costs to be saved in looking at water and energy use, making a more profitable crop. The Hammonds have developed an energy policy which looks to save costs and reduce environmental impact. They’ve introduced boreholes and cold stores, use light sensors and produce a range of farm grown sustainable fuels to reduce their carbon footprint. They now run five vehicles and produce power for the packing plant on pure plant oil. Minimising environmental change is central to their business plan, of which LEAF membership, in particular the LEAF Marque, is key.

Producing potatoes, or any produce, sustainably is essential for the future of your business and for the environment. It’s a rising challenge which LEAF members like Jon and Gavin are tackling head on. Anthony Goggin, LEAF Marque Technical Manager, has recently been at some of the regional potato days and will be attending the East England and North England days in September – get in touch if you would like to meet up with him.

Calling All Young Farmers!

BBC Three Young Farmer of the Year

We’ve been contacted by BBC Three producers behind the series celebrating the working heroes of Great Britain. This year they’re on the lookout for young farmers aged 16-25, to showcase the unsung heroes at the heart of British food production. Continue reading