Skip to main content
Harper Adams University logo

    M&S launches collaborative Farm of the Future Programme in drive to help farms achieve Net Zero

    Posted 12 December 2023

    "This latest partnership with M&S, which places us at the heart of a key decarbonisation drive for the company, is excellent news – and we can’t wait to get started on the project.”

    The future of farming? A stock image of a futuristic farm field.

    M&S has announced the launch of its new Farm of the Future programme, which aims to support livestock farmers to rapidly decarbonise, demonstrating leadership on the road to Net Zero.

    The seven-year programme, which sees M&S collaborate with suppliers and Harper Adams University’s School of Sustainable Food and Farming, will work with seven M&S Select Farms as ‘Farm of the Future’ focus farms across six key production sectors to identify and implement practical, on-farm activities that will help farms achieve Net Zero.

    It will also create a supportive network, with access to advice and mentoring from recognised practitioners across the fields of agricultural sustainability, farm efficiency and animal welfare. Knowledge will then be shared across all M&S Select Farms and the wider industry.

    The programme will cover the beef, lamb, dairy, chicken, pork and egg sectors, and aims to help the nominated farms to decarbonise and maximise wildlife and habitat creation. The programme will also provide the opportunity to identify where system change may be required, all within the context of continuing to produce the high-quality food that M&S is known for.

    Head of Agriculture & Fisheries at M&S Food, Steve McLean, said: “As part of our sustainability action plan ‘Plan A’, we have committed to reducing our carbon footprint to net zero by 2040.

    “Over 70 per cent of the emissions of our food business come from primary agriculture, particularly the livestock and ruminant sectors, so it is clear this needs real focus.

    “We recognise the challenges this brings on farm, and the need to continue to produce affordable, high-quality food from sustainable supply chain relationships. We are committed to helping our M&S Select Farmers navigate these challenges, and this new initiative will enable us to support innovative approaches on seven of our M&S Select Farms, with the findings being shared across our whole supply base and the wider industry to help drive real change.

    “We are committed to collaborating with our M&S Select Farmers, our suppliers and with Harper Adams’ School of Sustainable Food and Farming to deliver this exciting project and we are confident that this collaborative approach will deliver a step-change in the industry’s approach to decarbonising food production.”

    And Simon Thelwell, Director of the School of Sustainable Food and Farming, added: “A key part of the work the School of Sustainable Food and Farming does is centred around making sure that every part of our supply chain – from farm to fork – is kept up to date with the latest innovations, knowledge and training around sustainable agricultural production.

    “Strengthening that relationship between farmers, retailers and centres of specialist knowledge such as Harper Adams University is mutually beneficial and helps drive improvement throughout the supply chain.

    “With that in mind, this latest partnership with M&S, which places us at the heart of a key decarbonisation drive for the company, is excellent news – and we can’t wait to get started on the project.”

    The M&S Farm of the Future programme is being delivered in collaboration with Cranswick, Skea Eggs, Dunbia, Scotbeef, Linden Foods, Müller and 2 Sisters Food Group.

    It builds on the success of M&S’ Farming with Nature programme, which has focused on increasing biodiversity and long-term climate resilience in the fresh produce supply chain, as part of M&S’ wider Plan A roadmap to Net Zero.

    Since launching in 2021, the programme has supported the trials of in-field Agrisound sensors, which use acoustic technology to measure pollinator abundance and support growers to deliver interventions to increase pollinator numbers. Following a successful trial in two M&S Select farms, this year, the technology has been scaled to a further 18 M&S Select Farms making up eight per cent of M&S growers.

    Cookies on the Harper Adams University website

    We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.