Simon Best from Acton Farm in Poyntzpass, Newry was recently awarded White’s Grower of the Year at their professional grower’s meeting.
In launching the award White’s acknowledges the dedication and passion of its growers and the commitment that goes into oat research at farm level in pursuit of the very best varieties of oats for its award winning oat cereals.
A supplier to White’s, Northern Ireland’s Oat Miller and Cereal Producer, Simon is third generation grower whose family has been growing oats for White’s for over 25 years.
He is among a group of local farmers working with White’s on trialling and testing new varieties that will continue to raise the benchmark in producing high quality oats.
Working closely with White’s growers is Raymond Hilman, an agronomist who heads up the growing group at White’s.
Commenting on the award, Raymond says: “Whites Oats Grower of the Year is someone who not only has a passion and commitment to growing high quality oats but is dedicated to protecting the environment and wildlife.
“By keeping up to date with the latest research and carrying out trials on their farm, Whites Grower of the Year is committed to providing the end consumer with sustainable and high quality porridge oats and oat cereal products,”.
Simon is one of our largest grower of oats, local to the White’s mill in Tandragee, Co Armagh.
He is passionate about what he does, commenting: “I am honoured to be nominated with this award. Consumers are probably not aware of the time that goes into raising the quality standards of crop growing to ensure only the best oats are delivered for milling into porridge. I am immensely proud to grow the highest quality of produce for White’s knowing that it will end up being enjoyed by consumers both locally and further afield.”
The criteria for the judging was based around five key agronomy areas, among those; mill quality which measures hullability, kernel content and bushel weight; on-farm compliance specifically looking at LEAF (linking environment and farming), which promotes sustainable agriculture, food and farming against high environmental standards; and technical development around commitment to oat research and trials.
Applications are now open for White’s 2017 Grower of the Year.