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Fellowship Awarded to Free-Range Farmer

by 5m Editor
7 July 2011, at 7:53am

UK - Roger Mercer has been awarded a coveted Fellowship of Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS).

Third-generation farmer, Roger Mercer, has been awarded a coveted Fellowship of Royal Agricultural Societies, FRAgS, which was presented to him recently at a reception in the House of Lords by Lord Plumb of Coleshill, Senior Agriculturist in the House of Lords and former NFU president.

Originally nominated three years ago, Mr Mercer was awarded an Associate of Royal Agriculture Societies in 2007, which has been upgraded to the full fellowship award, in recognition of his agricultural, free-range pork (Packington Pork) and free-range poultry (Packington Packington Free Range ) business and the contribution he makes to the agricultural industry.

Mr Mercer said: It is a wonderful organisation to belong to and a great honour for me to receive this award. There are lots of good farmers in this country so it is difficult for me to justify why we have won this award but, at Packington, our farming approach is very much aimed at providing food with provenance and respecting the welfare of our animals, which comes above all else."

The farm, which was started in Staffordshire in 1922 by Mr Mercer's grandfather, now encompasses a successful free-range pork and poultry business, Packington Free Range, managed by his two sons, Alec and Robert, as well as several thousand acres of arable land in Staffordshire as well as Lincolnshire.

Packington Free Range prides itself on rearing animals of true free-range quality and carries the RSPCA Freedom Food accreditation for animal welfare. Its reputation for providing one of the best supplies of pork and poultry in the country is growing year on year, distributing to butchers, farmshops and restaurants nationwide.

Mr Mercer, believes the accolade is down to how the family have committed themselves to developing the business in sustainable farming methods, as well as his personal commitment to agricultural education.

A governor for 12 years at Shropshire-based Harper Adams University College as well as Vice Chair of Governors and Finance Committee Chair, Mr Mercer added: "Education is the best investment you can make to farming. I am an ex-student of Harper Adams and it is great to be able to put something back into your industry."

Although Roger Mercer is no stranger to awards, having been awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 1986, which enabled him to travel to the USA to study pigs, potatoes and farm management, a RASE Excellence in Farm Management Award in 2003 and the Farmers Weekly Diversification Farmer of the Year Award in 2008, this award was special for personal reasons.

He added: "It was wonderful to go the House of Lords but extra special to receive the award from an old neighbour. Lord Plumb was a local farmer to us before he went on to be president of the NFU and the European Parliament. Quite an amazing achievement for a farmer and one which deserves my greatest respect."