Humphreys Farm in Essex has been awarded the 2023 VetPartners Sustainable Beef Farm of the Year award, in recognition of the farm’s dedication to aligning food production with sustainability.

Farmer, Sam Squiers, was nominated for the award by his vet, Mia Ellis, of Westpoint Farm Vets in Chelmsford.

“Sam has 50 native Aberdeen Angus and Wagyu breeding females and sells this beef directly through his farm shop and online,” says Mrs Ellis.

“He rotationally grazes long grass and is using herbal leys to improve soil quality, biodiversity, and animal health. In fact, no anthelmintics have been used on the farm for the past seven years.

She adds that manufactured fertiliser and chemicals are also thing of the past and has resulted in a threefold increase in worms.

“Sam is passionate about educating schoolchildren about the benefits of regenerative agriculture and is constantly seeking new ways to improve his system even further,” says Mrs Ellis.

Runner up for Bedfordshire-based farm

The award runner up was Jim Speirs, from Pepsal End Farm in Luton, who was nominated by Hampden Farm Vets.

Jim runs a herd of 100 pedigree polled Hereford cattle, which is integrated with the arable enterprise to reduce inputs at the 300-acre farm.

The cattle graze extensively and are finished on grass to maximise sustainability.

“Jim’s high-health herd is regularly tested for disease and a robust vaccination programme is followed. This includes tag and testing for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD), and we carry out bull breeding examinations on the 20 breeding bulls he sells annually,” says Lois Honeywell, Vet Tech and Approved Tuberculin Tester (ATT) at Hampden Farm Vets.

“Jim is conscientious, forward thinking and hardworking, and has built a sustainable beef and arable enterprise that work in harmony,” she adds.

Ian Cure, farm director for VetPartners, says the Sustainable Beef Farm of the Year award recognises the important role farmers are playing in delivering quality food produced to high standards.

“British farmers are leading the way, not just in animal health and welfare, but environmental practices too. Soil health and animal health are intrinsically linked and together are vital to helping deliver a sustainable farming future,” he says.

“With the support of their farm vet team, Sam and Jim are demonstrating this in abundance,” he adds.