Farm for Life Conference

Farm for Life logo

Our second 'Farm for Life' conference with over 1,000 of our farmers and suppliers takes place at the BBC Good Food Show this year.

The conference is an important event for Sainsbury's and an excellent forum for us to discuss new ways of creating and maintaining sustainable supply chains, recognising the achievements of our Development Groups and how we can continue to offer our customers more British food.

It's also an opportunity to talk about the new Sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan and the commitment to double our sales of British food by 2020. This and the increasing customer demand for home-grown food is a major opportunity for the British food industry, despite tough economic times.



Welcome and Sainsbury's business update
Justin King, Sainsbury's Chief Executive

Sainsbury's 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan
Judith Batchelar, Sainsbury's Head of Own Brand

Produce Development Group
Chris Batchelor, Wallings Nursery Ltd Managing Director

Pig Concept Farm
Vicky and Kate Morgan, Pockmor Farm Ltd

Grain Development Group
Andrew Bott, Camgrain Stores Ltd

Carbon footprint - it's all about efficiencies
Jake Freestone, Overbury Farms Farm Manager 


Sainsbury's Farming Awards

Best Carbon Footprint (beef, lamb, dairy, pork, chicken and egg
Best for Welfare (Dairy and Cheese Development Group)
Farmer Personality of the Year
Agriculture Supplier of the Year 


Networking reception with food and refreshments



Video case studies from our suppliers

British strawberries all year round

Chris Batchelor Managing Director of Wallings Nursery Ltd talks about the work they are doing to provide Sainsbury's customers with British strawberries all year round, helping us reach our commitment of doubling the sale of British produce by 2020. The fruits are picked, packed and delivered to store in less than 24 hours to make sure our shoppers can enjoy the freshest and tastiest strawberries.


Improvements to animal welfare at our pig concept farm

Animal welfare is a key part of our 20 by 20 commitments and very important to our customers. Vicky and Kate Morgan from Pockmor Farm Ltd have helped us develop the first pig concept farm. The farm is about continuing to improve animal welfare at Sainsbury's and the quality of the pork we provide for our customers. 


Sainsbury's Grain Development Group

Andrew Bott from Camgrain Stores Ltd talks about his work with the Sainsbury's Grain Development Group. Camgrain supply all of the milling wheat that goes into our in store bakeries and also our own label bagged flour. Working with Sainsbury's has made Andrews farm more efficient and a better farmer.


Nominees and winners at the Sainsbury's Farming Awards 2011


Agriculture Supplier of the Year


Greenvale AP have been the most proactive supplier to drive the creation of Grower Groups in Fresh Produce. Having been aligned to our Crop Sustainability Group goals from the outset, they have brought these values to the Potato Grower Group not only in terms of the calibre of growers involved, but also the way in which they have helped incorporate our CSG workstreams into the development of the environmental scorecard.  


Yorkshire Farmhouse Eggs for the transparent and supportive relationship forged with their producers. They are a modern and forward thinking company who share Sainsbury's values.

Randall Parker: They have organised and hosted 4 grassland workshops for our Lamb Development Group farmers stretching through out the UK (Devon, Gloucs,Wales and Northumberland). The days were well organised and attended. The feedback has been very positive and farmers are already looking into planting high sugar grass varieties for next year to improve the efficiency of lamb production. They have also put much time, energy and resource into getting the Flock Health Initiative off the ground with the Lamb Steering Group through the collation of meaningful outcome measure data on liver fluke which was backed up by the financial impact.

Farmer Personality of the Year


Vicky and Kate Morgan: Vicky and Kate (along with the rest of the Morgan family) have all shown outstanding leadership, committing to a completely new and innovative way of producing pigs. Their dedication to improving animal welfare in a new pig system and all the challenges associated with it has never faltered. Vicky and Kate are hard working to the core and an inspiration to all they work with.


Ben Jack: for all the energy and enthusiasm he gives the SDDG. Ben was elected by the Kinross pool of farmers to represent them on the Steering Group when the group first started in 2007. Ben is a fantastic communicator and ambassador of the SDDG and has independently built a close relationship with his local Store Manager (Kinross!). Ben is very proud to supply Sainsbury's with milk and is very passionate about telling a customer where their milk comes from and that by buying their milk from Sainsbury's they are directly supporting their local dairy farmers. He always keeps the Sainsbury's team in touch with the real issues being faced on farm and presents the issues in a fair and balanced way. Ben is a pleasure to work with and is held in very high regard by both the Sainsbury's team and the SDDG farmers.

Andrew Bott: A Camgrain farmer member since 1983, Andrew has been the cornerstone of our Flour Development Group and a great contributor to its success over the past year. Embracing the concept from the outset, he has been instrumental in supporting and setting the agenda for the group; fuel usage in relation to tillage systems. In addition to engaging the other farmer members in group meetings and activity (by his own admission this is like 'herding cats'!) he has been a shining example of 'practice what you preach' by converting his own farming system from 'min till' to 'no till'; and openly welcoming other farmer group members to visit his farm to share his experiences, understand the investment involved first hand and really bring to life the aims and objectives of the project.

Best Carbon Footprint


Best Carbon Footprint Sainsbury's Cheese Development Group

U Godsell & Sons Ltd (Jane and Rye Godsell) Dairy Crest, Far Westrip Farm, Stroud

This family run dairy unit has demonstrated consistent year on year improvement, reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions, whilst improving best practice as illustrated by the environmental scorecard results, taking Mr Godsell and his enterprise into the top 25% quartile of the SDDG pool.

Reducing the calving interval, whilst increasing cow yield in parallel to reducing purchased feed usage, all of which are fundamental key factors to achieving carbon efficiency have been clearly demonstrated. As such Mr Godsell is leader in the field and illustrates an excellent example of an enterprise looking fit for the future.

Best Carbon Footprint Sainsbury's Dairy Development Group

RM & GB Fowler (Gavin Fowler) Milk Link, Higher Boode Farm, Braunton

An extremely progressive dairy farmer who has shown outstanding improvement year on year within the cheese pool, increasing his environmental scorecard result whilst reducing GHG emissions, which has taken Mr Fowler into the 10% of the cheese pool. Calving interval is one of the best throughout the dairy group at sub 370 days, whilst milk yield continues to increase; two key elements of production and carbon efficiency. Wind turbines have been installed on the farm and he is described as a very accomplished dairy farmer, continually looking to improve and very much engaged with carbon footprinting.

Best Carbon Footprint Sainsbury's Beef Development Group

Mr B Tomley and Sons (Brain Tomley) ABP, Middleton Farm,Shropshire

Mr Tomley has demonstrated engagement and clear results consistency across the two years of data collection which has seen him achieve a position within the top 25% of his cohort group within the beef category. The enterprise consists of mixed cattle of both suckler and dairy origin in conjunction with a sizeable suckler herd comprising circa 80 cows.

The area of outstanding performance from Mr Tomley has been the high daily liveweight gain from a semi-intensive system which has seen cattle sold to slaughter at an age below that of the national and Sainsbury's pool average. Coupled with an excellent carbon footprint result, this illustrates efficiency of production which is key to sustainable supply.

Best Carbon Footprint Sainsbury's Lamb Development Group

J Higgins and Sons Ltd (John Higgins) Randal Parker, Frodesley Park Farm, Longnor, Shrewsbury.

Mr Higgins has established a 1200 head flock of North Country Mules on a lowland based farm, lambing from February to the end of April and has illustrated comprehensible carbon footprint improvement across the two years of the study, seeing an 8% decrease in emissions to an already outstanding result, and an increased in environmental scorecard result by 5%.

Mr Higgins has achieved excellent DLWG from a mostly grass based system which is fundamental to sustainable lamb production. Fertiliser is rarely used but yet lambs are sold off at a relatively young age but still achieve excellent weights. Lambing percentage has attributed to the carbon footprint result and proved to be higher than the average in the cohort group.

Overall, Mr Higgins is an excellent example of a typical lamb producer who looks to be making the best of his greatest asset; grassland.

Best Carbon Footprint Sainsbury's Egg Development Group

RJ Farms Eggs (Charles Rook) Noble, Weighton Wold Farm, Market Weighton

An enterprise with scale and excellent professionalism. The site is new and managed with excellence as illustrated by the scorecard report. The information recording system is professional and the whole operation appears to be worked like clockwork. An engaged producer and farm manager.

Best Carbon Footprint Sainsbury's Chicken Development Group

JL Jones & Co (Peter Jones) Vion, Manor Farm, Wistantow, Craven Arms, Shropshire

This is a father and son enterprise which is at the forefront of development. A heat exchanger has been recently installed and they are looking towards installing either a wind turbine or solar panels. All elements of the scorecard were scored very highly, and the data provided for the GHG element was well prepared and presented.

Best for Herd Health and Welfare


Simon & Tina Lester-Card, Manor Farm:  A farm run jointly by husband and wife with their teenage son also playing an active role.  Attention to detail and animal welfare is a top priority from active consideration and selection of genetics through to practical management of cow comfort and hygiene. Cows are loose housed on straw with extremely low levels of lameness. There is continual investment in upgrading the facilities such as the recent construction of a new calf rearing shed resulting in excellent youngstock. Any health and welfare issues arising are addressed promptly. Yields have been rising steadily without compromising welfare.


Mark & Joanna Cheyney, Middle Farm: They have shown a fantastic attitude towards improving herd health and are committed to significant investment in infrastructure to deliver improved health and performance (currently installed sand cubicles in replacement of straw yard and planning additional accommodation for 200 cows in sand cubicles with excellent comfort and space).

David and Brenda Lawrence, Holme Farm: They took advantage of the quarterly NMR Johnes screening programme at a very early stage and have implemented a good Johnes control plan on their farm. They have increased production over the past 18 months by 11.5% to 9700L sold/cow/year, and it has happened without compromising cow health or increased culling etc. so this represents a significant improvement in production. They are an excellent example of how the Sainsbury's Herd Health Scheme can benefit both cow health and farm production.

Rob Bell, Ullard Hall: This farm has taken forward ideas from the initiative with real enthusiasm, for example through using scoring in some cases on a monthly basis to assess disease levels, better assessment of culled cows and reasons for culling and instituting a brief meeting at the end of each fortnightly vet fertility visit to discuss an area of health and production. They have recently expanded their herd and cubicle shed and has been keen to take advice from the practice and his external vet (Alastair Hayton) to ensure best health and welfare practice is followed through this. 

Tom King (Vortex Holsteins Ltd), Church Farm: They are very forward thinking farmers with the highest levels of welfare combined with excellent performance, low culling rate and lovely, contented, quiet cows. They are very proactive on the herd health side. They have taken part in the dairy co mastitis plan and the SWHLI johnes scheme with monthly reviews on both mastitis and fertility and quarterly reviews of metabolic/nutritional issues. The mastitis rate is below 40cases/100cows/year and they are aiming at getting it to 20. 

Neil Christenson, Steanbow Farms: They have demonstrated a continuous committment to improve health and fertility parameters in this 500 cow herd. The farm is an outstanding example of the favourable outcomes that can be achieved when staff, owner and outside advisers all trust each other, liase regularly, and act on the results of those discussions. 

Bob Mitchell, Drumdreel: They made a huge investment in trying to eradicate BVD. The whole family was involved, and they arranged meetings between the Biobest lab and veterinarians in order to find the most effective strategy to eradicate the disease. Mr Mitchell also went as far as writing a letter and doing presentations to try and encourage other farmers to herd test for BVD and cull any PI calves, as he saw huge welfare benefits on the farm.

Graham Andrew, East Gortleigh (SCDG): As a farm they have redesigned their cubicle system, built a new parlour and changed their feeding. The down side is that at the start they had a very high incidence of lameness but by taking on board the lameness scoring and making the changes to improve cow comfort they are getting very good improvements. They have also seen dramatic improvements in their mastitis incidence and cell counts.

About the event

  • Date: 23 November 2011