Somerset dairy farmer and cheesemaker John Alvis MBE is the latest recipient of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF)’s Princess Royal Award for outstanding services to the UK dairy industry.
Mr Alvis is a director of Lye Cross Farm, part of the Alvis Brothers family farming business that integrates grass, cows, milk, cheese, whey, pigs and manure. He joined the company in 1960 when it had 300 cows on 400 acres and made Caerphilly cheese. Today, with his sons Johnny and Peter and brother Michael, he farms 4,000 acres comprising 1,700 acres arable; a 1,200 cow dairy enterprise with a 250 cow organic herd; 600 beef cattle and 18,000 pigs finished annually. Lye Cross Farm makes 4,000 tonnes of West Country Farmhouse Cheddar each year, sold through UK supermarkets and exported to 35 countries.
He is a past president of the RABDF and Institute of Agricultural Management and a former chair of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship Trust, a Nuffield Farming Scholar himself. Non-executive directorships include the Royal Bath and West of England Society, Grosvenor Farms and Cogent Breeding, as well as being a governor of Bridgwater College. In 2000, he started the FarmLink education programme to bridge urban and rural communities, which now caters for over 30,000 school children visits to farms each year.
Mr Alvis received an MBE for services to agriculture in the South West in 2005, and he also holds the RASE Excellence in Practice Award.
“John Alvis has made an enormous contribution to the dairy sector for over 50 years, he is highly respected and a great exemplar,” states RABDF chairman, Mike King. “John has always been ahead of the curve pioneering farming practices, whilst at the same time he has built a prestigious cheese brand both in the UK and international marketplace. His huge passion for the industry is reflected in his commitment to the next generation working with schools and the local community. Above all, John is always willing to engage. I believe he is a worthy winner of this award.”