Ferry men win top business award

6 December 2000

Ferry men win top business award

By FWi staff

FARMERS FIRST, the company founded by five farmers to boost lamb exports, has won a prestigious award from the Confederation of British Industry.

The company beat off stiff competition to win the International Initiative of the Year category of the CBIs Growing Business Awards 2000.

Farmers First chief executive David Owen donned a dinner jacket and bow tie to collect the trophy at Londons Hilton Hotel on Tuesday (5 December).

He said: “At last agriculture, so long the underdog as far as the UK economy is concerned, is getting mainstream recognition.”

Digby Jones, CBI director-general, said the awards are designed to find and recognise the companies behind the success of the UK economy.

The international category acknowledges excellence in researching overseas markets and successfully launching, or expanding, operations abroad.

Farmers First was launched in 1998 as Farmers Ferry and raised 1 million with the backing of 6000 farmers. It exports lamb from Britain to the Continent.

The company now moves 10% of all the lamb produced in the UK and has abattoirs processing and exporting 11,000 carcasses a week into Europe.

A Farmers Fresh abattoir business was created in May of this year. A flotation in July created the parent company Farmers First to oversee both initiatives.

Gareth Vaughan, vice-president of the Farmers Union of Wales, said: “Farmers First has provided a lifeline for many Welsh and UK sheep producers.”

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