'Dedication and fantastic flowers'
A FARMER from Cornwall has been named top of the crop by Marks & Spencer as the retailer announced the England winner of its pioneering Farming for the Future awards.
The retail giant said Rob Stacey, of Rowe Farming Ltd, Helston, triumphed in the farming awards thanks to his dedicated approach to staff development and welfare and his innovative integration of complementary enterprises.
The Farming for the Future programme aims to help farmers identify opportunities for improvement, increase their profitability and provide a sustainable supply chain that can continue to deliver quality and innovation for the long term.
Mr Stacey supplies daffodils to M&S, using the Cornish climate suited to growing the popular flower and the early season in the South West which allows flowers to be picked from January right through until Easter. He also recognised the suitability of his land for growing potatoes as well as daffodils, due to the climate and coastline.
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He said: "We're thrilled to be recognised with this high-profile award for the work we are doing in running a sustainable business, both financially and environmentally.
"It's great to be working with a retailer like M&S to future-proof our business and ensure we are able to always deliver the best quality daffodils to be sold in M&S stores across the country.
"This award really means a great deal and is testament to our commitment to delivering unique, fresh products."
The awards celebrate suppliers working towards becoming carbon neutral, sending no waste to landfill, extending sustainable sourcing, setting new standards in ethical trading, and helping customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle.
The results were announced at the Great Yorkshire Show and Steve Mclean, M&S head of agriculture and fisheries, said it had been difficult for judges to pick a winner.
He said: "There is a great deal of innovation and quality across the agriculture sector in England, which is clear to see here at the show.
"Rob impressed us with his dedication to investing in the future while providing fantastic flowers."