Two Northern Irish farmers have joined a seven-year initiative that sees M&S collaborate with farmers to reach net zero.

Co. Antrim lamb and beef farmer, Trevor Bamford, and Co. Tyrone egg farmer, Kingsley Bell, have joined the programme, which brings suppliers, industry and farmers together to deliver rapid decarbonisation of livestock production.

M&S is working with Harper Adams University’s school of sustainable food and farming on the ‘Farm of the Future’ initiative to decarbonise and maximise wildlife and habitat creation.

The retailer aims to provide farmers with the opportunity to identify where system change may be required within the context of producing high-quality food.

Bamford’s mixed farm covers 300ac and he sees joining the Farm of the Future programme as an opportunity to make changes on his farm.

“This is something the whole supply chain has to embrace, and I’m looking forward to working with M&S and receiving their direct support,” he said.

“Schemes and policies here in Northern Ireland are taking a while to get off the ground, so through this programme, I hope we can take the initiative and get a head start in transforming our farm into something that is better for the environment.”


Kingsley’s egg enterprise, which spans 16,000 free range hens and 17,000 organic hens across eight barns, has felt the effects of the climate crisis, he said.

Co. Tyrone egg farmer, Kingsley Bell

Kingsley said he feels taking steps to be more sustainable is more important than ever.

“I have always had a keen interest in looking into innovative ways to reduce my carbon footprint,” he said.

“I feel that every year reducing my carbon footprint is vital no matter how big or small the changes I make; it can have a massive impact on the environment both locally and globally.

Commenting on the launch of the programme, M&S head of agriculture and fisheries, 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% 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.”

McLean said M&S is committed to collaborating with its farmers, suppliers and with Harper Adams University’s school of sustainable food and farming.

“We are confident that this collaborative approach will deliver a step-change in the industry’s approach to decarbonising food production,” he said.