A farmer who diversified into food production to grow the family business was recognized by the Institute of Directors.
Stephen Kilby and his parents Geoff and SallyAnn invested in rapeseed oil production to boost the farm operations and now have an end to end business growing and producing Yorkshire rapeseed oil.
Stephen, who farms at Wharfe Valley Farm, was Highly Commended by the IoD at its national Director of the Year Awards in the Young Director category.
The previous year Stephen was named Young Director of the Year at the IoD Director of the Year Awards for Yorkshire and Humber.
For the Collingham-based business it was the thumbs up that their diversification strategy was a winner.
Their successful hands-on approach has grown organically and expanded since its inception in 2006.
They press, produce and bottle their own cold-pressed virgin rape seed oil.
Product development has led to the range now including a selection of infused oils and salad dressings to launch to the health food market.
The original plan was backed by DEFRA and the then Yorkshire Forward which helped the family, who has farmed at Wharfe Valley Farms in Collingham since the 1980s, with the establishment of their business in 2006.
Stephen is delighted with the outcome and is pleased that “rapeseed oil continues to become established in new markets in Europe”, with UK sales rising at a steady and sustainable pace.
“Sustaining the family farming origins with a great reputation for honesty and integrity is at the core of the business.”