Alex is farm manager for RBOrganic in Norfolk, one of the largest organic carrot growers in the UK. He has risen rapidly in the company from a non-farming, engineering background, firstly with a Sainsbury’s apprenticeship, then as tractor driver, assistant manager and now manager. Acquiring the skills to grow a wide range of crops has been challenge enough, but what really stands out is his understanding of organic principles and what they mean in practice, his leadership and staff management and attention to detail.
His crop production is based on a sound rotation within a larger farm business, soil fertility is carefully managed with routine soil analysis, fertility-building leys and green manures and minimal use of inputs. It is well-mechanised, as one expect, with the latest equipment. The cropping is part of a wider view of the estate, integrating wildlife conservation and predator habitats, and minimising environmental impact.
Apart from a small team of highly motivated regular staff, Alex manages a large team of part-time staff: his ability to explain the job and his care for their welfare is exceptional.
Beyond the farm gate he is pushing himself to promote the company and explain the quality of organic food to the public. Supplying produce to packers and the supermarkets is a tough business, Alex succeeds by being a perfectionist committed to organic farming and by establishing a regime including high standards of organic production, committed staff and a willingness to promote what they are doing.