Mary Mead

Yeo Valley

Kicking off the evening was the presentation for the Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture Award, given to Mary Mead co-founder of Yeo Valley.

As the biggest organic brand in the UK, nine million homes buy at least one Yeo Valley dairy product including milk, yogurts, crème fraiche and butter.

With a career spanning more than 60 years, Mary Mead moved to Holt Farm in Blagdon, Somerset, with husband Roger in 1961. The farm then had just 35 cows.

Their entrepreneurial spirit launched the award winning brand from scratch and following the passing of Roger, Mary continued to lead the family-run unit alongside her son, Tim.

Today the business runs 450 pedigree cows across two units spanning 1,400 acres and employs more than 1,700 people.

Recognised for their product quality, innovation and sustainable farming practises, the company have been awarded two Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the revolutionary way it works with its farming suppliers, encouraging them to turn organic and giving them long-term ‘fair trade’ contracts.

On receiving her award ahead of the night as she was unable to attend, Mary Mead said: “Thank you so much for this award, and I’d like to accept it on behalf of all women in farming.”

Picking up the award in her mother’s absence Sarah Warren said: “I am immensely proud to accept this award on behalf of my mother. She completely deserves it and has been a truly inspirational figure in my life. We grew with the farm business and we are privileged to have become involved with it. We have a sheer passion for farming in a sustainable way and we support each other whenever we can. This is for all our team.”