Frogmary Green Farm – home to broiler and arable producers Nick and Claire Bragg – has become the first indoor poultry unit to join Linking Environment and Farming’s (LEAF) nationwide network of demonstration farms.
Based in Somerset, it joins over 40 other farms across the country set up to showcase the very best of sustainable farming practices
As well as rearing 102,000 Freedom Food chickens a crop, the 200ha farm also grows potatoes, maize and grass for fodder.
See also: Pictures of Frogmary Green Farm open day
Frogmary Green Farm became LEAF Marque certified in 2013, having fully adopted the assurance scheme’s integrated farm management (IFM) principles.
This means using the best of modern technology, and traditional methods, to deliver prosperous farming that enriches the environment and engages local communities. It covers energy and resource use, soil and water management and creating natural habitats for the benefit of wildlife.
The Braggs were the first to install a biomass woodchip boiler for heating chicken houses, using locally sourced timber to reduce their carbon footprint. They have also planted some 4km of hedgerows and more than 500 trees since 2002.
Pollen and nectar margins provide extra habitat for bees and other insects, which in turn has encouraged a huge variety of wildlife.
“Integrated Farm Management is about striving to achieve balance across the whole farm,” said Mr Bragg. “We’re working hard in lots of practical ways to conserve and enhance the natural environment.”
As a LEAF demonstration farm, Frogmary Green Farm will act as a “living classroom”, demonstrating and promoting the principles of IFM.
“These farms play a hugely vital role in sharing best practice among farmers, as well as being a great way to help educate the public about how modern food production can co-exist with protecting nature and the countryside,” said Caroline Drummond, chief executive of LEAF, at the launch.
The only other poultry unit to feature in LEAF’s list of demonstration farms is Waitrose’s Leckford Estate in Hampshire, which has 17,000 free-range broilers and a flock of British Blacktail free-range layers.