We won the Highly Commended Award for Environmental Excellence!
We pride ourselves on environmentalism and sustainability and these values were rewarded by the Northern Irish Food and Drink Association with the Highly Commended Award for Environmental Excellence.
We pride ourselves on our sustainability and our environmental excellence, values that were rewarded at the Northern Irish Food and Drink Awards last week with the Highly Commended Award.
As the farm has grown, so has the demand on resources. Consequently, environmental management has been implemented to adapt best farming practices and assist in restoring farmland and biodiversity.
- Strategic Crop Rotation: We rotate the crops that we grow on particular sections of the farm. By strategically rotating crops we minimise the strain of the soil enabling it to replenish its nutrients. It also prevents the accumulation of particular weeds and pests.
- Efficient Soil Management: Soil is the basis for everything we do. Maintaining healthy and biologically active soil is therefore a key priority for us. We have moved towards min-till farming. With its emphasis on minimal ploughing and harrowing, this reduces soil disturbance, maintains organic matter and minimises the risk of soil erosion. We have also adapted innovative technologies including acquisition of a robotic hoe that can efficiently penetrate the soil with minimum disturbance.
- Sustainable Pest, Weed and Disease Control: We have adopted a number of ecological approaches for pest, weed and disease control. We have undertaken ‘companion’ planting of garlic with our crops. Garlic cloves and leaves contain an active sulphur compound known as allicin, which deters pests. Companion planting of garlic therefore provides a natural approach to pest control.
- Careful Choice of Seed Varieties: We proactively seek to improve farm productivity and minimise risk of diseases and pests, by carefully choosing seed and plant varieties that are best suited to our farms, and which increase disease resistance.
- Planting Trees and Hedges: In 2012, 100 trees and 200litres of hedges were planted around the border sites of the farm.
Protecting the Environment:
As an agricultural business we are heavily reliant on a balanced natural environment to provide us with quality air, soil, water and land. Our environmental policy provides us with a robust framework for minimising our environmental impacts. It is endorsed by Senior Management and was developed collaboratively with Industry Partners through our involvement with the Sustainable Together through Environmental Management (STEM) project.
- Minimising Resource Consumption: The proximity of the farms and factory minimises transport requirements, reducing food miles. This reduces energy consumption and associated emissions. We have also adapted our water consumption using the Environment Agency’s Waterwise guide. This has included recycling and reuse of water.
- Reducing Green House Gas Emissions: We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We voluntarily participate in the Governments Climate change Agreements (CCA) and consistently meet the associated targets for carbon reduction through a range of energy efficiency measures.
- Respecting Habitat and conserving bio-diversity: Our farm is home to a range of habitats, wildlife and species. The steps that we have taken to protect are set out in our formal Biodiversity plan. We maintain uncut grassland margins and protect the natural streams and slow moving drains on our farms. These initiatives enable Reed Mace to flourish, which in turn provides protection and feeding for a large range of insects, frogs, birds and other small animals.
- Robust waste management: Waste represents a cost and is also a symptom of inefficiency. We are committed to minimise waste in our operations as well as from the use of our products. We have adapted the four Rs of waste management- Reduce, Reuse, Recover and Recycle which have enabled us to put a significant volume of what would be otherwise waste to good secondary use. Additionally, we minimise the packaging of our products. We are currently researching biodegradable trays and all the outer packaging uses for paper from sustainable sources.
NIFDA Highly Commended Environmental Award
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