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Cousins working together on our family owned farm with the aim of running a commercial modern farm producing high yielding, high standard crops while maximising wildlife diversity. Brian is said to be the farmer and conservationist, whereas Patrick is a conservationist and farmer. This mix has given a new direction for the farm, building upon the work that our fathers and grandfather has done to improve the overall success of the farm business. The farm has gone from strength to strength with the farm being recognised at a national level winning the coveted National FWAG’s Silver Lapwing Award for farming and conservation in 2009 and then Patrick and Brian were named Countryside Farmer of the Year by the Farmers Weekly in 2010.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Turning over a new LEAF!

Yesterday we had the great pleasure of hosting a farm tour and open day for 85 people. This special occasion was the official launch of E.J. Barker & Sons as a LEAF Demonstration Farm.
LEAF stands for Linking Environment And Farming. It is an organisation that we have become more involved with over the past few years. Many of you may have been to an event hosted by them, such as Open Farm Sunday, seen their LEAF Logo on food packaging or you may not heard of them at all. They are an organisation that looks to spread the word within the farming, horticultural and food industries to promote best practice in soil, water and air management along with crop protection using cultural controls. They then look to spread this message out to the community and consumers, telling of all the good work farmers do in the countryside.
We have been LEAF members for a few years and have been carrying out their LEAF Audit which is a question and answer process that helps us to identify areas where we could improve in all aspects of our farming and environmental practice.
We were asked if we would like to be a Demonstration Farm after LEAF came out and had a look around our enterprise. The idea of a demonstration farm is to get people on to the farm and see first hand what can be done and what good practice is all about, using the plans and resources that LEAF provide, to improve the efficiency of the farming operation and to reduce the impact on the environment.  They are said to be LEAF’s Flagship farms and through LEAF you can book up visits for groups of any age to come on a farm and see all these aspects. In return, we get a wealth of knowledge and back-up from them in hosting events and they give us training in many areas of our business.
It was a great honour to be asked and we look forward to working closely with the LEAF team as we take this new chapter of our business forward. In memory of the day, Lord Cranbrook (Past Chairman of English Nature and a Suffolk resident) planted a tree on the farm and officially cut the ribbon on what was a grey and windy day but that did not prevent us from taking a quick tractor and trailer ride around the farm.
More information about LEAF can be found at www.leafuk.org

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