Queen’s Award for dairy firm

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Staff at a dairy farm are celebrating after being awarded a prestigious Royal honour.

Acorn Dairy has won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for sustainable development, thanks to its commitment to low-carbon, organic practices on its farm in Archdeacon Newton, near Darlington and farming collaborations in North Yorkshire.

The family business, which is run by directors Caroline Bell and her brother Graham Tweddle, has been farming since 1928 and converted to organic status in 1998 before launching deliveries two years later.

Now, the firm delivers to thousands of households through its own fleet of drivers and a nationwide network of distributors.

Caroline said: “We are delighted to have won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, especially in a field that is so close to our hearts.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, from how we feed the herd to how we generate our power.

“We are constantly reviewing our sustainability strategy, working with industry experts and bodies to find new ways, trial new technologies and understand changes that we can implement.”

Among the initiatives highlighted in the award entry were the farm’s commitment to producing organically, using no pesticides or artificial fertilisers, and avoiding routine antibiotics for its 500-strong herd of Dairy Shorthorn cows.

The farm also sources its energy from its own on-site wind turbine, bottles all milk in its own plant, reducing unnecessary food miles, and uses glass bottles, cutting 425kg per week of plastic from the local food chain.

Caroline added: “Our overall business is stronger thanks to the sustainability interventions we have made.

“Each one, such as going organic and installing the wind turbine, has led to our business growing, thanks to their ability to provide our customers with better service, better products and a better impact on the local environment.

“Receiving the Queen’s Award is testament to the whole term’s hard work and commitment. We all work towards the same goals and plans, and encourage ideas and intervention when it comes to every area of what we do.

“We are always looking to try to new things and improve ways of working – especially when they have a fundamental impact on our greater sustainable development.”

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in four categories: innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.