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Farm duo go ‘the extra mile’

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By Fiona Reid
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Farm duo go ‘the extra mile’

A POULTRY farming couple from the region were runners up in this year’s prestigious M&S Farming for the Future Awards.

Semple Kelly and Emily Davidson who run Airdrie Farm in Kirkbean were second in the The Prince’s Countryside Fund category, which celebrates producers in the food supply chain who are going the extra mile to help support local rural communities.

They were honoured at the Royal Highland Show last Thursday.
The judges were impressed by their commitment to improving the local environment and helping to educate the next generation about food and farming.
The pair manage around 30,000 hens to produce free range eggs that are supplied to M&S and they regularly welcomes school groups to visit and witness first-hand hen welfare.
In order to improve wildlife habitats, Semple 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, he has significantly reduced the amount of bought-in artificial fertiliser 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 on the farm to help provide the electricity needed to power all on-site facilities.
Semple said: “We’re extremely honoured to have our efforts recognised by the judges. Our commitment to the environment and supporting the local ecosystem is something we’re really proud of. As local suppliers we feel we have a responsibility to give back and do what we can to support sustainable working practices and preserve wildlife in the surrounding area.”
Congratulating them, Steve McLean, from M&S said: “Emily and Semple are very worthy winners who has demonstrated innovative thinking, commercial success and social responsibility in the way that they manage and execute their business.”

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