Semple Kelly and Emily Davidson, who run Airdrie Farm in Kirkbean, have made it onto the shortlist for this year’s M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ prize.
The pair, pictured above, manage around 30,000 hens and produce free range eggs that are supplied to M&S through Noble Foods. They have been nominated for The Prince’s Countryside Fund Award which celebrates producers in the food supply chain who are going the extra mile to help support local rural communities.
The judges were impressed by Semple and Emily’s commitment to improving the local environment and helping to educate the next generation about food and farming. The farm regularly welcomes school groups to visit and witness first-hand hen welfare and to provide them with the opportunity to handle the hens and eggs.
In order to improve wildlife habitats on farm, Semple also works closely with Scottish Woodland to maintain pockets of woodland around the farm. Through regular ecology surveys and using hen manure to fertilise productive farmland, Semple has significantly reduced the amount of bought-in artificial fertiliser that is used on the farm.
The couple have also embraced renewal energy technology, with solar panels on the roofs of poultry sheds, a biomass boiler and two hydro-electric schemes all installed and operating on the farm to help provide the electricity needed to power all on-site facilities.
Farming for the Future is a programme of initiatives which champions sustainability and innovation. It is designed 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.
The awards celebrate suppliers working towards important M&S Plan A commitments, including 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 winner will be awarded on Thursday June 22.