Ide Hill dairy farmer is reaping rewards of hard work
DAIRY farmers are hoping to be cream of the crop after being shortlisted for a prestigious award.
Martin Lovegrove, of Henden Manor Farm, Ide Hill, got the news a year after facing bankruptcy.
He feared he would have to sell off his herd of Friesians, but an investment gamble has paid off.
The Chronicle spoke to Mr Lovegrove in July last year over the pressures facing dairy farms including falling milk prices and increased costs.
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An average of three close each week across the country, according to most recent figures.
But Mr Lovegrove decided to plough money into his business – and now he is reaping the rewards.
He supplies milk for Marks and Spencer and last year vowed to increase his stock from 240 to 340 cows to improve efficiency and added: "It was a case of either shutting down or reinvesting for the future."
One year on, the supermarket giant announced the farm was one of four to be shortlisted for an award for their "dedication to the health and welfare of livestock, commitment to improving the farm's local environment and engagement with the local community".
Mr Lovegrove and his wife Roni said they were "excited and privileged" to have been nominated.
The couple currently produce about three million litres of milk each year from their herd of Holstein Friesians.
Mr Lovegrove said: "We believe passionately in having a dairy farm that is sustainable and does what it can to reduce its impact on the environment."
The entrants were required to outline their achievements in five key areas including innovation within their field, leadership, staff and community engagement, environmental improvement, efficiency and cost-saving. The winner will receive a £1,000 prize and will be entered into an Overall Farming for the Future Champion Award for 2012.