The Rhug Estate, in Denbighshire, farmed organically by Lord Newborough, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Lord Newborough, a passionate supporter of organic farming since the 1990s, inherited the family farm in Denbighshire, north Wales, in 1998. The farm has been transformed over the last 20 years from a low input/low output traditional beef and sheep farm to a successful, organic farming business.
Lord Newborough said, "I could see the virtues of following an organic lifestyle when it wasn't very trendy at all. Organic food was extremely difficult to get hold of back in the 90s and when I chose to convert the farm to organic in 1998 I had quite a few raised eyebrows and doubters to deal with."
The farm introduced a seven-year rotation, to include cattle, sheep, grain, forage, and root crops. It took farm manager Gareth Jones and the team of nine two years to complete.
Jones added: "The biggest challenge at the time was to take the team of farm staff along the conversion to organic journey, but the transformation was accepted quickly once the first evidence of change became apparent – with clover appearing in the pastures from nowhere. The shepherds observed the sheep, which previously found the pastures unpalatable, were beginning to graze and stopped roaming in a restless fashion and were lying down more. After 15 months all the farm staff were totally in favour of this different style of farming."
The organic farm today rears sheep, cattle, chickens, bison, deer, as well as turkeys and geese for Christmas and grows oats and barley to feed the animals during the winter.
Rhug Estate's business ventures now include a farm shop, wholesale, renewable energy, café, takeaway, drive thru, online shop and a new Wild Beauty skin and body care collection launched this summer.