A POULTRY farmer from Somerset has been announced as the regional winner of this year’s Unsung Hero category in the M&S Select Farm Awards.
Andy Darch, who had returned to the family farm in 2010 after university, decided to renovate and revamp their nine-shed poultry unit alongside his dad, Simon.
The farm has since started supplying M&S with RSPCA Assured Oakham Gold chicken.
Mr Darch was invited to receive the award during the M&S Select Farm Awards ceremony at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.
The judges commended Andy for his outstanding efforts in modernising his family farm for future generations.
“Dad was looking to reduce his role at the farm, so when I came back, we decided that now was the best time to invest back into the business,” Mr Darch explained.
“A lot of the sheds were 60 years old and becoming dilapidated, so we had a fair bit of work to bring them into the 21st century.
“With efficiency and sustainability in mind, we installed several biomass boilers, which we tried to do mostly ourselves,” he added.
“We also installed as many solar panels as we were permitted.
I think, in hindsight, these decisions were necessary for the prosperity of the farm, especially with the current inflated energy prices.”
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.
“Andy’s focus on the future has helped set up his family farm for years to come, and we are delighted that he is working with us as an Oakham Gold supplier – you may even have spotted him on one of our recent adverts!”