Conservation efforts of fruit farm near Maidstone are rewarded

Contributed by editor on Jul 21, 2019 - 11:00 AM

Marion Regan managing director of Hugh Lowe Farms receives the award


Fruit growers who take a “whole farm” approach to conservation, and where staff are encouraged to photograph species sightings, have been honoured with a top award.

Hugh Lowe Farms, based in Mereworth near Maidstone has been presented with the CLA Emsden Trophy, which recognises conservation efforts in Kent.

The business, which specialises in growing strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, was nominated by FWAG South East and picked up the award at an event supported by BTF Partnership and Cripps Pemberton Greenish on Thursday (18 July).

It was praised for taking a “whole farm” approach to its environment, looking at the impact of water, energy and plastic use, soil and crop protection, and waste management, as well as wildlife conservation.

More than 15% of the 700 ha soft fruit and arable farm is managed for wildlife, including field margins, permanent grassland with low inputs, nectar flower and wild bird mixes, as well as features such as hedges, woodlands, ditches and reservoirs.

Skylark, yellowhammer and pollinators are monitored as indicator species, and farm staff are encouraged to watch out for all species sightings and send in photos.

Marion Regan, managing director of Hugh Lowe Farms, said: “We are delighted to receive this trophy, as for many years we have looked after our living and working environment.

“We have seen some real improvements in biodiversity from our ‘land sharing and sparing’ approach, and it is terrific to have the hard work and focus acknowledged in this way.”

Kent FWAG adviser Paul Cobb said: “As a major business, the farm has environmental responsibility at the heart of what it does, and I am delighted to nominate Hugh Lowe Farms to receive the Emsden Trophy in 2019.”

The trophy was presented during a farm walk and drinks reception hosted by last year’s winners, B R Brooks & Son Ltd, at Langdon Manor Farm near Faversham.

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