Aberdeenshire farmers win The Prince’s Countryside Fund and M&S farming award

The Barron Family

FARMING partners David and Nicola Barron have been announced as the winners of this year’s Prince’s Countryside Fund Family Farm Award at the M&S Select Farm Awards.

David and Nicola were invited to receive their award during the M&S Select Farm Awards ceremony at this year’s Royal Highland Show. The judges commended the family for their forward-thinking approach to environmentally-friendly farming and succession planning.

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Spanning 500 acres, with an additional rented 90 acres, their farm is home to 150 Aberdeen Angus suckler cows, which they primarily finish. Their commitment to excellence extends beyond the local community, as they also supply their premium produce to both local butchers and M&S.

“We were privileged to be among the early farms in Scotland chosen as a climate monitor farm, working in conjunction with the Scottish government and SRUC,” comments David. “Furthermore, we have made efforts to embrace sustainable technologies, such as installing solar panels, a 200kw ETA hack biomass wood chip grain dryer, and being among the few to adopt three HydroGen electrolysers on our tractors in the UK.”

David and Nicola Barron have three sons: Jack, 25, who is a trainee agricultural solicitor; Tom, 23, who graduated in real estate; and Jamie, 16, who is currently studying in school. Although not yet involved in the business, David and Nicola hope their children will eventually contribute their diverse skills to further diversify and enhance the farm.

“Our approach was to provide our children with a solid education and encourage them to pursue their own professions, with the aim of leveraging their gained expertise to support the farm’s diversification efforts, with a key focus on quality,” adds David. “While I am not yet prepared to fully hand over the reins, I plan to gradually reduce my involvement in the future.”

Commenting on the award, Keith Halstead, Executive Director at The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: “At a time of dramatic change in farming, there is a need to embrace new opportunities that are good for both the environment and farmers’ livelihoods. The approach adopted by David and Nicola Barron clearly illuminates their personal journey in embracing change which has led to a more resilient and sustainable farm enterprise, that is also producing healthy food in harmony with nature.”

Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at M&S, said: “Every day, our Select Farmers and suppliers go to extraordinary lengths to deliver great quality M&S food while demonstrating best-in-class innovation, animal welfare, sustainability, and biodiversity.

“We truly appreciate David and Nicola Barron’s commitment to producing quality food in a way that enhances the environment, and ensures they have a sustainable business for the future.”

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