HEREFORDSHIRE'S biggest food producers has thrown its weight behind the Hereford Times Backing Herefordshire Farming campaign.

Avara Foods, which has a chicken processing factory in Red Barn Drive, Hereford, has paid tribute to the county's farmers, who have continued to maintain output through the coronavirus crisis.

The firm's communications officer, Thomas O'Neill, said: "Herefordshire farmers work tirelessly to produce quality British foods and are integral to keeping the nation fed, and we wouldn’t be one of the UK’s leading food companies without them."

Our Backing Herefordshire Farming campaign aims to rally support for our agricultural community during these difficult times.

Every week we have been focusing on the challenges faced by farmers of all ages and in a variety of circumstances.

Mr O'Neill said: "Avara Foods is proud to be one of the sponsors of the Hereford Times Back British Farming campaign. As one of the biggest employers in the county, with roots dating back to the 1960s, we warmly welcome all efforts that highlight the important part agriculture plays.

"We value the hard work of our farming partners – we provide training and support stockmanship skills, and work with them to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare.

"We understand the importance of our entire supply chain, and are always looking for ways to improve and hone our ways of working.

"We’re proud of our farm-to-plate ethos. We manage every aspect of our livestock rearing, giving us complete confidence in our food products."

Avara's processing plant in Hereford is its largest. It employs more than 2,000 people and the firm invested £6.5million in the site last year. The money was spent on technology, facilities and staff development.

Th firm says it is part of a wider investment programme to increase efficiency and productivity, and it has secured the Hereford factory as one of the most advanced food manufacturing sites in Europe.

Mr O'Neill said Avara has had a vital role during the lockdown.

"As one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers supplying some of the nation’s favourite supermarkets and restaurant chains, we’ve been key to keeping supermarket shelves stocked during the pandemic.

"We’ve operated throughout by adapting our workplaces to aid social distancing and invested heavily in personal protective equipment (PPE) and protective measures to ensure the safety of our colleagues.

"What sets us apart is not what we do, but how we do it. 

"We want everyone who works at Avara to have a meaningful role and the opportunity to feel they are a part of our success. 

"That’s why we’re committed to development and making sure that, whoever you are and whatever you do, at Avara there’s always an opportunity to get better and, hopefully, progress.

He said the firm offers career development and competitive rates of pay. Its wide range of training opportunities includes apprenticeships that run from Level 2 to degree level, opening up new ways to earn and learn.

  • Post your support for the campaign using the hashtag #BackingHerefordshireFarming