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Britains biggest farmer, The Co-operative Farms, signs up to be a Promise Partner


The Co-operative Farms, Britains biggest farmer, has signed up to become a Promise Partner, supporting the Health and Safety Executives (HSE) drive to help reduce death and injury in agriculture.

The Make the Promise. Come home safe initiative raises awareness of common hazards and risks, encouraging farmers to think more about their safety, not only for themselves and their livelihoods,  but also for the sake of their families ? something which is especially important during the busy harvest season.

Agriculture is one of the one most dangerous occupations, with proportionately more deaths than in any other sector. The latest figures, collated by HSE, show that 38 British agricultural workers died between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2010.

The Co-operative Farms is one of the biggest farming businesses to become a Promise Partner, reinforcing its commitment to the health and well-being of its employees and people working on the farms it manages.

Christine Tacon, Managing Director of The Co-operative Farms, says:

Make the Promise encourages farmers to think about the actions they are taking on the farm when they are very busy and urges them not to cut corners in order to complete a job.

By becoming a Promise Partner, we are re-iterating how much we value the safety of our farmers and farm workers. Farming can be a dangerous job and it is too important an issue for safety on farms to become an afterthought.

The Co-operative Farms manages over 20k hectares from 16 bases across the UK, growing and producing a range of vegetables, fruit and cereals. Safety has always been a priority on The Co-operative Farms and, in order to create a workplace where safety is paramount, the business has reviewed all its processes and systems, which include:

  • A simplified H&S e-manual
  • A new health and safety audit programme with minor and major reviews on each unit throughout the year
  • Individual training and awareness programmes that are reviewed throughout a persons career
  • Central control and review of statutory compliance

Machinery and equipment on The Co-operative Farms is serviced regularly and, by working co-operatively, farmers can loan expensive equipment when they need it,  rather than using or buying old equipment that could be dangerous or faulty.

The Co-operative Farms is part of The Co-operative Group. Produce from its farms is sold under the Grown by Us brand in Co-operative food stores: the range includes cider, apple juice and packet flour.

For more information on Make the Promise visit

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business that is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of 14 billion, employs 123,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets handling more than 20 million weekly transactions.

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.

The Co-operative is the UKs number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UKs largest farmer.

Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical and The Co-operative Legal Services.

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