FINALIST FOR FAMILY FARMING BUSINESS
OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by: Morrisons

The Alderson Family

R. Alderson & Son, Burley Farm, Shropshire

Four generations of the Alderson family have been at the helm at Burley farm since 1953, most recently Ian Alderson, his wife Sarah and their son, Jim.

Significant investment has taken place in recent years, including the installation of an 11,000-bird, free range broiler unit (2009), a bio-mass boiler (2014) and establishment of a growing 23-head suckler herd (2017), followers of which are reared alongside bought-in stores.

This added to the farms existing flock of 520 Suffolk cross ewes and 165 acres of arable production, growing 55 acres of temporary grass leys and 110 acres of wheat, oats and barley which is run over 430 acres in total.

Finished beef is sold via a Sainsbury’s contract, with free-range chickens reared to 56-days and sold to Morrisons and sheep marketed through Ludlow market.

Day-to-day sees Ian head up the broiler unit and Jim manage the cattle. The pair split sheep and arable work between them, with Sarah helping out during busy periods and in the farm office.

Understanding

“We are very keen to engage with our supply chain, from processors to the end consumer,” says Ian.

“I am part of producer groups for Morrisons and Sainsburys and go to monthly meetings to discuss supply chain issues and other industry news.

“Speaking to other farmers as well as the general public about the farm and food production is also useful as well as rewarding.

“One of the areas of work we are involved in is becoming a case study as part of an initiative focusing on preventative health care for animal disease and we also host multiple visits for the local primary school which we are looking to build upon in the future.”

Aside from their commitments on-farm and the educational work they do for the local community, the family have welcomed more than 50 foster children since 2002, something they say requires a great deal of dedication and persistence but is also extremely rewarding.

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