The Farming Social Hub - a voice for the farming community

Diversification brings national recognition

Rebecca and Stuart Mayhew of Old Hall Farm, near Bungay, are among the nominees for the Diversification Innovator category at the British Farming Awards.

Old Hall Farm, which has been the focus of the Farming Social Hub podcast, runs a high welfare dairy, in which the Jersey calves are left with their mothers until natural weaning occurs and the cows are milked for human consumption just once a day instead of the traditional twice a day milk.

The milk – which is sold to both local customers and to delis and farm shops – is used for raw Jersey milk, milkshakes, cream and butter, while the grazing pastures are managed in a soil-friendly, regenerative agriculture system. Lush pastures, rich with a variety of plant species is the hall-mark of Rebecca and Stuarts’ principles of farming.

Most recently, the Mayhew’s have invested in a farm shop and cafe and are introducing a free-range chicken enterprise, while a new vineyard of 10,500 vines is expected to produce its first grapes this year.

In an interview with the Eastern Daily Press, Rebecca Mayhew said: ‘Diversification is diversification, so people obviously expect you to be doing something different, but it is nice to have our methods of farming recognised more widely and becoming more mainstream.

‘People always think Norfolk and Suffolk is the back end of nowhere, but actually we are very innovative over here and there is a lot of good enterprise going on.’

The annual British Farming Awards aim to showcase “innovative, determined and extraordinary farmers across all sectors”.

The winners will be announced at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham on October 21.