Jacqui Lanning, of Devonshire Poultry, has been adjudged ‘Farmer of the Year’ in the Devon Farm Business Awards, organised by the Addington Fund, the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA) and leading regional solicitors Stephens Scown.
She is the first woman to have been crowned Farmer of the Year since the awards were launched, five years ago, and was presented with her award by the first woman to be President of the National Farmers Union, Minette Batters, at the awards ceremony on 16 May.
Jacqui Lanning, who also took home the award for Devon’s Best Woman in Farming, is the co-owner and founder of Devonshire Poultry, a broiler chicken business encompassing six farms across three counties, based at Sheldon in the Blackdown Hills. She started the business with her husband Robert in 1991, and it now produces some 4.5 million table chickens a year, employing 11 people. Jacqui’s speciality is the unglamorous but vital work of ensuring compliance with the vast swathe of regulations to which a business on this scale is subject.
Lead judge for the Farmer of the Year award, Mole Valley Farmers’ Chairman, Graeme Cock, said: “Devonshire Poultry is a fantastic business which bases its entire marketing theme on Devon. Jacqui’s role in the business is absolutely vital, running as she does six very efficient and high welfare units across three counties from her Devon base. She is an outstanding winner.”
“Her focus and drive is obvious and she clearly loves her work”, observed judge Richard Townsend, who placed Jacqui top in the Best Woman in Farming category. “The future looks bright with a great team in place providing a solid foundation for future growth.”