Indicator farms...

Daffodil grower, Rob Stacey, Rowe Farming Ltd wins M&S Farming for the Future award for England

Rob Stacey, Rowe Farming, M&S England Farming for the Future award winner

Cornwall daffodil grower, Rob Stacey of Rowe Farming Ltd has won the 2013 M&S Farming for the Future award for England.

Rob supplies 100% of the outdoor daffodils on sale in M&S stores. The Cornish climate is ideal for growing this popular flower and the early season in the South West allows flowers to be picked from January right through until Easter.

All stems are picked by hand, with 60 different varieties appearing on M&S shelves throughout the season. Rob employs all of his 800 pickers directly. Many of these are through the SAWS scheme. – Rowe Farming Ltd is the only daffodil grower of this scale to do so. Rob believes that this approach not only provides him with a reliable workforce but provides staff with a fairer deal and more job stability.

The Cornish coastline is also perfect for producing early new potatoes, so it’s no surprise that this is the other main enterprise of Rowe Farming. With the busy season’s of each crop complementing each other, Rob, with his fellow Directors, Mark and Edward Rowe, are able to share labour requirements and equipment effectively between the two operations which cover over 3500 acres.

The business is continually investing in state of the art, precision planting and harvesting, and processing equipment and has also recently installed solar panels onto the roof of the packhouse. This will help supplement the energy used to remove the field heat out of the daffodil stems, prolonging shelf life and ensuring a quality product.

Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture at M&S added: “These awards have highlighted many of the fantastic farming practices in our supply base. Rowe Farming is a deserving winner – their dedication to staff welfare is a great example of a company who are focussed on growing a quality product in a sustainable way."

Judges were impressed with Rob’s:

Dedication to Staff development and Welfare

Innovative integration of complementary enterprises

Loyalty to retailer relationships

The finalists in the awards were – Rob Mercer, pork producer; Chris Spiby, milk producer and William Shakeshaft, beetroot producer.

Rob has donated all of his £1000 prize money to Children’s Hospice South West, a local charity providing hospice care for life-limited children and their families from across the South West of England.

M&S Farming for the Future awards 2013 England finalists