Beef farmer wins prestigious M&S award

Local beef farmer, Peter Oosterhof, has been announced as the Scottish winner of this year’s Farming with Nature Award in the M&S Select Farm Awards.

By John A. MacInnes
Friday, 24th June 2022, 8:15 am
Peter Oosterhof at his Fraserburgh farm
Peter Oosterhof at his Fraserburgh farm

As the Farming with Nature Award winner in Scotland, Peter was invited to receive their award during the M&S Select Farm Awards ceremony on the M&S stand at this year’s Royal Highland Show.

The judges commended Peter for his commitment to enhancing the farm’s environment and biodiversity, and reducing its carbon footprint.

Alongside his wife, Jane, Peter runs a 2,500-acre mixed beef and arable farm with a 100-head Shorthorn-cross suckler herd and large-scale finishing enterprise. In 2021, the farm became part of the M&S Indicator Farm network, a group of farms that are trialling and measuring the benefits of specific environmental initiatives and then sharing these learnings with the wider supply base.

Plans for the farm focus on soil quality, biodiversity and wildlife habitats as well as carbon footprint reduction through sequestration of carbon into the soil, more sustainable sourcing and pasture management. This is done with the help and collaboration of the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and Littlewood Land Care.

At the beginning of the programme, the first thing Peter undertook was a carbon audit of his entire business to provide a benchmark against which he could track and assess future performance.

He has also been utilising green manure crops to reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss, in addition to increasing organic matter and sequestering carbon in the soil.

On receiving his nomination, Peter said: “It has been a very enjoyable and rewarding learning process so far. We want to keep producing quality beef for M&S whilst developing methods for more sustainable practices. It is great that this nomination acknowledges our work”

Steve McLean, Head of Agriculture and Fisheries at M&S, said: "Every day, our Select Farmers and suppliers go to extraordinary lengths to deliver great quality M&S food, whilst demonstrating best-in-class innovation, animal welfare, sustainability and biodiversity. Peter has shown real commitment.”