AN EGG producer has been recognised by supermarket M&S for environmental improvements made on his farm.

Alistair McBain, a farm operations manager at egg enterprise Duncan Farms, has been announced as the regional winner of this year’s Low Impact Farming Award in the M&S annual Select Farm Awards.

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As the ‘Low Impact’ award winner for Scotland, Alistair was invited to receive his award during the Select Farm Awards ceremony on the retailer’s stand at this year’s Royal Highland Show.

The judges commended Alistair for his pioneering work in significantly reducing farm emissions through changes in diet composition.

Alistair has worked hard to reduce the environmental impact of the Aberdeenshire-based Duncan Farms’ egg enterprise by developing a diet with a 50% reduction in soy, which is associated with a high carbon footprint in egg production.

Soy alternatives

“We started looking for alternatives to soy, and at what we could grow on our land to provide a sustainable option,” comments Alistair. “The solution includes homegrown proteins such as beans and oil seed rape, which are grown and harvested within 12 miles of our egg enterprise.

“In line with Duncan Farms’ sustainability goals and M&S’s Plan A commitment, we were determined to develop a feed mix that works in terms of palatability for the hens, egg production performance, welfare outcomes and carbon reduction.”

Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at M&S, said: “Every day, our Select Farmers go to extraordinary lengths to deliver great quality M&S food to our customers, producing lower carbon, responsible food, whilst protecting natural resources and driving innovation.

“Alistair has demonstrated how much can be done by being innovative and using his skillset to make a significant improvement to his farm’s carbon footprint. His attitude and application should be truly admired.

As the regional winner of the Innovation Farming Award, Alistair received a certificate and M&S voucher during a supplier reception at this year’s Royal Highland Show.