NI farmers join new M&S ‘Farm of the Future’ initiative to help drive net zero goal

NI farmers join new M&S ‘Farm of the Future’ initiative to help drive net zero goal
County Tyrone egg farmer, Kingsley Bell

County Antrim lamb and beef farmer, Trevor Bamford, and County Tyrone egg farmer, Kingsley Bell, will both be taking part in a new, seven-year programme that sees M&S collaborate with suppliers, industry and farmers to deliver rapid decarbonisation of livestock production as part of its Plan A roadmap to net zero by 2040.

Working with Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming, Farm of the Future will seek ways to rapidly decarbonise and maximise wildlife and habitat creation and will also provide the opportunity to identify where system change may be required, all within the context of continuing to produce the high-quality food for which M&S is known.

Linden Foods has been supplying M&S with beef and lamb since 1997, sourced from 1,200 farms across Northern Ireland and recently developed a unique integrated Wagyu offering for the M&S supply chain.


Trevor, whose 300-acre mixed farm supplies Linden Food and M&S, sees joining the Farm of the Future Programme as a great opportunity to make changes on his farm and get ahead of the some of the challenges the industry is currently facing.

“This is something the whole supply chain has to embrace, and I’m looking forward to working with M&S and receiving their direct support,” he said.

“Schemes and policies here in Northern Ireland are taking a while to get off the ground, so through this programme, I hope we can take the initiative and get a head start in transforming our farm into something that is better for the environment.”

Family-owned Skea Egg Farms, based in Dungannon, started to supply M&S in 1997 in just seven stores. Today, the business supplies M&S stores across the UK and Ireland.

As a Skea supplier, Kingsley’s Egg enterprise, which spans 16,000 free range hens and 17,000 organic hens across eight barns, felt the effects of the climate crisis. So as the Country Tyrone farmer explained, he feels taking steps to be more sustainable is more important than ever.

“I have always had a keen interest in looking into innovative ways to reduce my carbon footprint.

“I feel that every year reducing my carbon footprint is vital no matter how big or small the changes I make; it can have a massive impact on the environment both locally and globally.”

County Antrim lamb and beef farmer, Trevor Bamford

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Head of Agriculture & Fisheries at M&S Food, Steve McLean, added: “As part of our sustainability action plan ‘Plan A’, we have committed to reducing our carbon footprint to net zero by 2040. Over 70% of the emissions of our food business come from primary agriculture, particularly the livestock and ruminant sectors, so it is clear this needs real focus.

“We recognise the challenges this brings on farm, and the need to continue to produce affordable, high-quality food from sustainable supply chain relationships. We are committed to helping our M&S Select Farmers navigate these challenges, and this new initiative will enable us to support innovative approaches on seven of our M&S Select Farms, with the findings being shared across our whole supply base and the wider industry to help drive real change.

“We are committed to collaborating with our M&S Select Farmers, our suppliers and with Harper Adams’ School of Sustainable Food and Farming and look forward to working with Trevor and Kingsley to deliver this exciting project. We are confident that this collaborative approach will deliver a step-change in the industry’s approach to decarbonising food production.”