Organic farmer named Sustainable Farmer of the Year at Farmers Weekly Awards

John Pitts receives his award
John Pitts receives his award

John Pitts, Managing Director of West Sussex-based organic farming and waste management company, The Woodhorn Group, has been announced as Sustainable Farmer of the Year in the national Farmers Weekly Awards.

Up against two other shortlisted farmers for Sustainable Farmer of the Year, John stood out for adopting a sustainable approach to his multi-faceted farming business.

He commented, “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this accolade.

“This industry recognition is further testament to our commitment to sustainable farming and diversification. It is also a tribute to the hard work and dedication of everyone who works at The Woodhorn Group. The expression ‘Team Effort’ is sometimes over used but 100% applies in this instance.

“Sustainability is not just a catch phrase to us. It encompasses everything we do from how we look after our staff to our care for the environment in which we live and work and from animal welfare to our role in the community. We are far from perfect but we are trying to be the best we can be!”

The judges were impressed by John’s passion, professionalism and innovation as well as the high quality of management across all areas of the business. “John is committed and passionate about running a truly integrated farm business. He constantly challenges the way the farm operates to deliver a business that is more robust and sustainable,” commented Caroline Drummond, LEAF Chief Executive and Independent Judge.

The Farmers Weekly Awards is run by the national magazine toshowcase the best farmers in the country while recognising and rewarding them for their innovation, commitment to the industry and hard work.

The Pitts family has been farming in Chichester since 1882 and now over 130 years later, The Woodhorn Group is still a thriving business and has grown from a dairy and arable farm to encompass solar farming, property management and a fully-fledged waste recycling business.

Arable crops are grown on the farm to feed the 250 strong dairy herd as well as wheat for organic bread and barley for organic beer. Their milk is sold via the farmer owned organic cooperative OMSCO to produce Yeo Valley Yoghurt.

Since diversifying into composting and recycling in 1998, the company now has a dedicated team and two sites in Tangmere and Runcton where they handle an impressive 85,000 tonnes of green garden waste and wood waste a year. A considerable amount of his comes from gardens and businesses throughout West Sussex.

Using the garden waste, The Woodhorn Group produce its Earth Cycle range of peat free products including soil conditioner, top soil, turf dressing, wood chip and cow compost.

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