Oli Pascall, a 26 year old fruit farmer from Salmans Farm in Maidstone, has been crowned as this year’s winner of the prestigious M&S ‘Farming for the Future’ awards. Announced at The Royal Welsh Show, the accolade comes in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sustainable farming.

Oli won the Young Producer award for his production of sweet blackberries and raspberries.

Salmans Farm is a 50 acre site in Kent which required complete regeneration when Oli began running the site in 2014. Thanks to the hard work and effort that Oli put into developing the site with innovative irrigation techniques, within just two years, the farm is now producing four times the volume of sweet blackberries, year on year.

Judges were impressed with how Oli has dramatically improved the production levels of the old soft fruit site, his willingness to develop and trial new growing techniques and methods, and his enthusiasm to learn and develop his career in the soft fruit sector.

M&S Farming for the Future is a programme of initiatives which champions sustainability and innovation. The programme is designed to help farmers identify opportunities for improvement, increase their profitability and provide a sustainable supply chain that can continue to deliver quality and innovation for the long term.

Steve Mclean, M&S head of agriculture and fisheries, said: “We are delighted to honour Oli as one of this year’s Farming for the Future award winners. Every year it becomes even harder to choose the winners, as each individual on our shortlist has gone the extra mile to set them apart from the competition.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Oli and his team for the forward thinking approach and dedication to farming excellence. The commitment to innovation, best practice and future-proof farming is incredibly impressive and is testament to the effort and drive he has shown.”