Farmers Weekly Awards 2016: Farmer of the Year

Nathan Dellicott

Barfoot Farms

It has taken Barfoot Farms more than three decades to become what it is today – a specialist crop producing powerhouse spread over more than 2,400ha along the South Coast.

Nathan Dellicott

Nathan Dellicott © Hugh Nutt

Built from humble beginnings, its founder Peter Barfoot set out on his veg-producing journey in the early 1970s on an 8.5ha smallholding near Bognor Regis.

It is now producing a range of semi-exotic vegetables for a number of outlets, including major supermarkets and restaurant chains, making Barfoots is a shining example of how quality production and clever marketing can drive a farm business to impressive heights.

See also: Read more from the Farmers Weekly Awards

This couldn’t have been achieved without the right people and farm director Nathan Dellicott personifies the professional and knowledgeable ethos instilled in the company’s management team.

As scale has grown, so have the challenges and these have been met head on by the team.

Most notably putting sustainability on top of the agenda – where it should be – in an intensive cropping enterprise.

Nathan has implemented the use of cutting-edge technology to protect the farm’s soils, while its AD plant uses waste, generates clean energy and provides some useful nutrition in the form of digestate.

In addition, there is evidence around the farm of initiatives to improve the flora and fauna surrounding its immaculate crops, with pollinator habitat creation particularly important to the business.

After being told tenderstem broccoli could not be grown in the UK, Nathan has successfully added it to the farm’s rotation and is an example of the product innovation that has further driven growth.

There is further evidence of this innovation in the pack house, where machines can slice, dice and prepare ready-to-eat vegetables – showing the business has moved with the times to offer the consumer the convenience it desires.

Add to this a vice-like grip of costs, Nathan and his highly motivated 28-strong production team – along with a large number of seasonal staff – have the perfect recipe for profitable, high-quality production.

Back in July as the Farmers Weekly judges toured the farm, Peter Barfoot commented that to deal with world class businesses such as high street supermarkets, you have to be world class yourself.

Nathan and Barfoot Farms are certainly in that league.

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