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How a dairy farm found salvation in ice cream

Dairy farmers at Churchfields Farm, who were forced to diversify in the wake of the foot and mouth disaster in 2004, have been nominated for a Three Counties Farming Award.

The Awards were officially launched this month, with the aim to celebrate the achievements of the industry in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Categories include sheep, cattle, pig, poultry, fruit/hop and arable farmer of the year, as well as young farmer, farming contractor and farming hero.

Awards will also be presented for the best family-run farm and best farm exhibiting sustainability and diversification.

The family run Churchfields Farm at Salwarpe, Droitwich are an early nomination in the Sustainable/Diversification category. It decided to make use of its dairy expertise and diversify into ice cream production following the 2004 foot and mouth outbreak.

Farmer's daughter Tracie Godden, who is now a partner in the business, said: "We did look into cheese production, by my dad was quite impatient, and if he had had to wait for cheese to mature before we could sell it he would have driven us insane! Ice cream is great as you can make it one day and sell it the next."

As well as its award-winning ice creams, the farm has the sole rights to Droitwich Salt. It collects the natural brine from Droitwich and gently crystallises it using renewable energy.

That energy is part of Churchfields' commitment to sustainability. Its 120kw solar panel system reduced its carbon footprint by 38.5 tonnes in its first nine months, and five oil-fired boilers were replaced with a biomass woodchip burner.

The award winners will be named at a gala dinner at the Three Counties Showground on Thursday, June 13, the eve of the Royal Three Counties Show. Money raised there will go to farming charity the Addington Fund, which helps find homes for farming families who have had to leave the industry.

Visit www.herefordtimes.com/awards/tcf/ to find out more and submit a nomination for the awards.

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