£2m fund package helps Yorkshire arable farm diversify into poultry

Ecologically-friendly poultry sheds have been built as part of a farming business's diversification plan
Ecologically-friendly poultry sheds have been built as part of a farming business's diversification plan

A Yorkshire arable farm has constructed four modern and environmentally friendly poultry sheds thanks to a £2m fund package designed to help farmers diversify.

Gordon and Jill Hawcroft have operated their arable farm in Holme on Spalding Moor, with assistance from their son David, for over 40 years.

With the backing of a substantial funding package from HSBC, the Hawcrofts' constructed new poultry sheds totalling 105,000 square feet.

The newly-built, ecologically-friendly buildings at Forest Farm houses more than 215,000 chickens.



The sheds have been specifically designed to be integrated into the surroundings of the East Yorkshire farm, with the intention of causing as little impact to the environment as possible.

This spring, the farm also launched Forest Farm Poultry, which will sell high quality meat to new markets across the country.



The farm business is expecting to create four new jobs and to increase turnover by 75 percent over the next 12 months.

Gordon Hawcroft and his family have operated the arable farm in Holme on Spalding Moor since 1980.

He grows a full range of arable crops with an integrated Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, which has transformed the wildlife status of the farm, as well as running a seven-bed farmhouse operating as a high-class holiday let on the site.

He said: “In farming, it’s important to be adaptable to change, which is why we’re excited to diversify the farm and try something we’ve never done before.

"We’re confident that we can operate successfully in both arable and poultry farming, with the new eco-friendly poultry sheds offering a fantastic base to build a responsible business.

"It’s an exciting time for the farm and we can’t wait to showcase some incredible produce.”