Top award for Kent salads and cereals producer recognises years of conservation work

Kent producer recognised for its dedication to conservation work with Emsden Trophy
Emsden trophy winner Stephen Betts (left) of Laurence J Betts receiving the trophy from Paul Cobb of FWAG.jpg
Emsden trophy winner Stephen Betts (left) of Laurence J Betts receiving the trophy from Paul Cobb of FWAG

A Kent salads and cereals producer has been recognised for its dedication to conservation work with a top award.

Laurence J Betts Ltd, which has sites at Offham, Yalding and Hadlow, has been honoured with the CLA’s Emsden Trophy, which celebrates conservation efforts in the county.

The business is focused on the production of wholehead and babyleaf salads for the catering and retail markets, and also grows a range of combinable crops. It was nominated by Kent Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and presented with the award at an event supported by BTF Partnership last night (Tuesday).

The company, which is run by Stephen Betts with directors Nick Ottewell and Alison Tanton, was praised for its dedication to “producing food safely while meeting high environmental standards”. It is LEAF Marque-accredited and the Offham farm has been involved in a ‘Test and Trials’ group for Defra’s Environmental Land Management scheme.

Paul Cobb, Kent FWAG adviser who nominated Laurence J Betts, praised the focus on good soil management, while the farm has several areas for birds and pollinators and its woodlands are actively managed by coppicing.

Mr Betts said: “We at Laurence J Betts have always endeavoured to nurture our understanding of the real value of the environment, as well as keeping up with the constantly evolving stories of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution. Consequently, we are continually developing and ultimately maintaining sustainable farming practices that are balanced with biodiversity, our natural surroundings and the wider environment.

“We are therefore delighted, proud and privileged to receive such a prestigious award that recognises our efforts and this will only help to inspire us to continue learning, adapting and moving forward.”

Mr Cobb said: “Stephen, Nick and the team have shown a dedication to conservation and the environment over many years, and I am delighted to nominate L J Betts Ltd to receive the Emsden Trophy in 2021.”

The trophy was presented during a farm walk and drinks reception hosted by the previous winners, Hugh Lowe Farms near Mereworth.

It is awarded in memory of Brigadier Brian Emsden, the Kent and Sussex CLA Regional Secretary in the 1980s who died of cancer in post. He was very keen on wildlife and conservation, hence the award in his memory.

Our congratulations go to Laurence J Betts for their fantastic achievement, they are a very deserving winner. We’d like to thank Hugh Lowe Farms for hosting the farm walk and tour, which was very well-received by guests, and we’re already looking forward to visiting Laurence J Betts next year.

CLA South East Regional Director Tim Bamford
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