Barry and Julie Crawford from Rural NewsAgrecovery plays an important part in helping sheep farmers supply quality product to high-end overseas markets, say this year’s Silver Fern Farm’s Marks & Spencer Supplier of the Year award winners.

Julie Crawford and her husband Barry farm a 300ha property near Gore, and, up against 94 other candidates, won the award that recognises top quality product backed by robust environmental practice.

‘Climate change is seen as a real threat in the UK and proof of sustainable environmental and social practice from suppliers, as well as product traceability, is becoming essential for premium markets such as Marks & Spencer,’ says Julie.

Quality assurance was one part of the award criteria, and along with such assessments as carbon monitoring and animal welfare, they had to show they were being responsible towards the environment, including the safe disposal of used agrichemical containers.

Being part of the Agrecovery programme meant they had a compliance certificate to show they were being proactive in this regard and recycling their containers.

‘We started using the Agrecovery Container Recycling programme in 2008.

‘Recycling the containers is really easy to do – you just gather them up, triple rinse them and drop them off.

‘By doing these simple environmentally friendly things it allows us to put our product in higher paying markets – as this is what their customers are looking for.’

‘It’s critical that we are farming sustainably. If we don’t, we are putting our export markets at risk.

‘Agrecovery plays a big part in that – providing a simple recycling programme that allows us to be environmentally friendly.’