Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
A Nottinghamshire pig producer has joined a pioneering programme that will see retailer M&S work with farmers to decarbonise its meat supply chain and... ‘Farms of the future’ set to reach net zero

A Nottinghamshire pig producer has joined a pioneering programme that will see retailer M&S work with farmers to decarbonise its meat supply chain and reach net zero by 2040.

Wold Farm, which supplies M&S pork through Cranswick, is one of seven farming enterprises taking part in the seven-year Farm of the Future programme. The initiative aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while boosting wildlife and habitat creation.

‘Significant challenge’

Working with Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming, it will also provide the opportunity to identify where system change may be required, all within the context of continuing to produce high-welfare pork for M&S.

Cranswick agricultural strategy director Ash Gilman said the Farms of the Future Programme would help the company reach net zero. Progress had already been made and further inroads would be achieved through a combination of measures.

“We have achieved a 33% reduction in our pig carbon footprint (kg C02eq/ kg LW) against our 2019 baseline, and while we have set out a decarbonisation strategy to net zero, and have large scale commercial trials in place, achieving this will be a significant challenge.

“It will require changes in feed mill infrastructure, greater understanding of soils and carbon, and the ability of carbon calculators to use actual – rather than reference – data.”

‘Real focus’

Steve McLean, head of agriculture at M&S Food, said the retailer was on track to reaching net zero by 2040. He added: “Over 70% of emissions of our food business come from primary agriculture, particularly the livestock and ruminant sectors, so it is clear this needs real focus.

“We recognise the challenges this brings on farm, and the need to continue to produce affordable, high-quality food from sustainable supply chain relationships. We are committed to helping our M&S Select Farmers navigate these challenges.

“This new initiative will enable us to support innovative approaches on seven of our M&S Select Farms, with the findings being shared across our whole supply base and the wider industry to help drive real change.”

Mr McLean said M&S was committed to collaborating with farmers and with the Harper Adams School of Sustainable Food and Farming. “We are confident that this collaborative approach will deliver a step-change in the industry’s approach to decarbonising food production.”

Fellowships for pig industry stalwarts

The National Pig Association has awarded lifetime fellowships to three industry stalwarts in recognition of their service to the sector.

Pig producers Sally Stockings and Sam Godfrey were presented with fellowships last month after standing down from the Pig Industry Group (PIG). Howard Revell will be presented with a fellowship at next month’s Pig & Poultry Fair.

The NPA board and PIG voted unanimously to award the fellowships in recognition of exceptional service to the NPA and to the UK pig industry – including their support, commitment and passion for the sector.

A further accolade has been awarded to NPA veteran Hugh Crabtree, who was already a lifetime fellow. Mr Crabtree, who was the NPA’s first vice-chairman when it was established in 1999, received an ornamental glass pig.

Mr Crabtree chaired the NPA Allied Industry Group for many years before, once again, taking on the role of vice-chair three years ago, after the successful merger of the AIG and PG to form the PIG.

NPA chairman Rob Mutimer said: “Hugh has been the most fantastic chair and support to me. We did not agree on everything, but he has always challenged us in a unique way and has been an incredible asset to have.”