The Uttlesford farming firm transforming the beer industry across the UK

PUBLISHED: 07:59 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 07:59 06 July 2018

Minister Graham Stuart, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Paul Taylor from Agrii. Picture: John Sanders Photography

Minister Graham Stuart, Minister for Investment, Department for International Trade and Paul Taylor from Agrii. Picture: John Sanders Photography

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A Stebbing-based company which researches and develops farming techniques hosted farmers across the nation and leaders in the beer industry as well as a state minister on Monday.

Farmers and leaders in the brewing industry were given a tour of crops grown at Agrii. Picture: JOHN SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY.Farmers and leaders in the brewing industry were given a tour of crops grown at Agrii. Picture: JOHN SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY.

At Throws Farm Conference Centre, brewer AB InBev announced that 75 per cent of barley used for UK-brewed Budweiser beer is now grown in Britain thanks to its Bud Farmers programme.

The programme, the brewer claims, has “improved UK farming practices” by introducing new barley seeds such as the Explorer grain, which helps barley to grow in parts of the country previously unsuitable for barley.

Throws Farm Conference Centre is the research and development base for agronomy services provider Agrii, a UK partner of AB inBev.

In the last year, the number of farmers participating in the project has grown from 147 to 257.

Richard White, Vice President for Procurement and Sustainability in Europe at AB inBev. Picture: JOHN SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY.Richard White, Vice President for Procurement and Sustainability in Europe at AB inBev. Picture: JOHN SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Helen Stonham, 54, who owns farms in Great Dunmow and the surrounding area, started growing barley for Budweiser five years ago.

Helen said: “It’s very nice as a farmer to be growing something that people actually want. It is very encouraging to see the end product and grow for the end product.

“Barley for malting is not really grown in this area but Explorer can cope with our land conditions. It has spread our work load... traditionally we grow wheat which is drilled in the autumn, so we have a heavy autumn work load. The fact that Explorer is spring drilled means the work is spread out.”

Helen, whose family owned Lower Hall Farm, in Dunmow, added: “The main problem for any farmer in this area is black grass, which is a weed resistant to all the sprays and the fact that you are not drilling in the autumn means you can clean up your fields before you then drill in the spring.”

Jason Warner, President of AB inBev and UK and Ireland. Picture: JOHN SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHYJason Warner, President of AB inBev and UK and Ireland. Picture: JOHN SANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Investment from the Department of International Trade, who attended the event, said: “With global audiences watching this summer’s football, the UK’s beer and pub sector continues to top the league, supporting British farmers and contributing £23.1bn to the British economy.”

Budweiser is sponsoring this year’s World Cup.

Colin Lloyd, from Agrii, said: “The introduction of the Explorer grain has delivered tangible benefits for farmers who are able to grow barley for Budweiser whilst keeping their supply chain costs down and maintain a lower level of CO2 emissions.”

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