IT’s not long now until we find out who are the region’s farming heroes in our Three Counties Awards.

We will be broadcasting the awards ceremony at 7pm on November 26 via our Facebook page and in the run-up we are taking a look at the finalists in each category.

Here are those shortlisted for the Poultry Farmer award, sponsored by Avara Foods:


A LITTLE over 20 years ago Chris White was an injured scaffolder looking for something new who had just arrived in Herefordshire to help a family friend with some fencing.

That friend was to change his life. Ann Coppock had some rescue chickens, and Chris got interested.

Today he’s something of an expert in rare breeds of poultry. Not just chickens anymore, but geese, ducks, turkeys, emus and rheas.

Chris is known as an exceptionally hard worker with high standards. But it’s also the fact that he is extremely knowledgeable about rare breeds that has won him a place on the shortlist.

It all started when Chris and Ann bought a cockerel to go with the few hens already there. He says the business, Ledbury Poultry, is more a giant hobby, making enough money to pay for the feed. He also runs a security fencing business.

Chris has always had a love of exotic animals, keeping snakes, spiders and lizards as well as the normal house pets.

But there was no history of animal husbandry until he saw Ann’s love of chickens and he got interested in the different characters of the birds and he developed his love of rare breed poultry.

Now he and Ann have 30 adult Emus and Rheas, 20 to 50 geese and about 30 chickens in five breeding groups.


LEE Baxter is a poultry farmer whose expertise and attention to detail has seen him regularly exceed industry standards.

Penrhos Poultry, based near Lyonshall in north Herefordshire, uses technology to improve efficiency as it provides 45,000 chickens to industry giant Avara Foods, which has a factory in Hereford.

Manager Lee Baxter has been nominated by the farm’s owner for his consistently good work.

Richard Williams said: “The site is Red Tractor-approved, with regular audits to ensure compliance with current standards.

“The site is heated with a biomass boiler, with a borehole to provide drinking water and solar panels to provide some electricity.

“The poultry site is part of Penrhos Farm, which also grows cherries, dessert apples and combinable crops on rotation. All wheat grown on the farm is fed back to the chickens as part of their balanced diet.

“Redhill poultry site has regularly achieved performance above the industry standard, something that only comes from good management and attention to detail.

“Lee excels at paying close attention to what is happening on farm at all stages throughout the growing period, reacting swiftly and efficiently to any problems that may arise.”

“Lee was also awarded Chicken Farmer of the Year 2019 by Avara Foods, of which he is very proud.”


Three years ago Giles and Molly McQuiston were reeling from the selling of their smallholding where they made their livelihood keeping beef, sheep and free range chicken.

Now Giles is in the running for one of our farming awards – not least of all for being such a great dad.

Giles has been shortlisted in the Three Counties Farmer annual awards in the Poultry Farmer category for his work looking after the chickens at Flag Station Farm in Mansel Lacy.

But it’s his dedication to doing his job so well while being a dedicated father to his children which makes him stand out in the eyes of his eldest child, 17-year-old Molly.

“Dad has worked throughout lockdown, keeping the supermarkets full with chickens.

“He has to work in unpredictable and unprecedented times.”

Like many farmers, Giles can be up at 2am in the morning when the chickens have to be dispatched to Hereford, and he can work long days because of it.

But whenever he’s back from work Giles dives straight into helping with the homeschooling of Molly and her brothers Jack, 15, and Fergus, 14.

“I am very grateful to my dad for this and for his help through lockdown,” said Molly.

For more on the awards go to