Co-op farm staff get green credentials

The Co-operative Farms' green credentials have been given a boost with Chartered Environmentalist status awarded to two of its key employees.

Co-operative Farms general manager Christine Tacon and head of farming operations Fraser Scott, responsible for arable and potatoes, were recognised by the Society for the Environment for their professional knowledge, experience and commitment to applying sustainable thinking throughout their daily work.

To receive registered status candidates are assessed by licensed constituent bodies of the society, in this case the Institute of Agricultural Management (IAM).

All Co-operative land is now under DEFRA’s Entry Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme, with 3 farms in the Higher Level Scheme.

Tractor-mounted sensors are used on all farms to optimise nitrogen usage, and seven sites managed by Co-operative Farms now host the ‘From Farm to Fork’ education programme for children to see how crops grow and understand the importance of hedges and wildlife margins.

A number of sites have switched to efficient and sustainable trickle water irrigation systems for Co-op grown potatoes and strawberries.

IAM director Richard Cooksley said: “Management within agriculture requires all the traditional skills plus appreciation and understanding of best practices and environmental controls. Chartered Environmentalist status is a confirmation of competence in this area, so Christine and Fraser’s achievement demonstrates the expertise within The Co-operative Farms.”

Tacon said: “We are now setting up programmes to research and trial next generation farming methods, to ensure we continue to farm in a way that minimises our impact and ensures resources are there for future generations.”

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