Stonehaven farmer Alan Meston has come runner-up in this year’s prestigious M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ awards in the Outstanding Producer category.
The awards took place at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh on Thursday, June 22.
Alan had been nominated for producing high quality beef cattle for M&S, as well as for his commitment to animal health and welfare and drive to increase the efficiency of his business.
Alan started buying cattle from the age of 13 and with the help of his son and one other part-time member of staff, he now produces around 2,800 beef cattle per year, with 1,200 cattle on the farm at any one time. Alan makes extensive use of grazing to ensure that feed costs are minimised, whilst managing grass in such a way as to maintain high growth rates amongst cattle. For the last three years, Alan’s cattle have been able to achieve one tonne of daily liveweight gain per hectare of grassland.
Alan Meston, said: “We really pride ourselves on being as sustainable as we can be which sees us make as much use of grazing as we can and invest in modern machinery to make our processes more efficient. It’s a real honour to be recognised for the work we’ve been doing on the farm.”
It was Alan’s commitment to sustained improvements in cattle growth rates year after year that impressed the judges.
M&S Farming for the Future is a programme of initiatives which champions sustainability and innovation. The programme 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.
Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at M&S said: “The Farming for the Future awards are now in their tenth year, acknowledging the dedication and commitment our farmers and growers are making towards Plan A and sharing best practice amongst the agricultural community across Ireland and the UK.
“Alan was a very worthy runner-up who demonstrated innovative thinking, commercial success and social responsibility in the way that he manages and executes his business.”