FOR four generations the Soanes family have staked their name on traceable, sustainable and responsible farming with high animal welfare standards at its core.

Founded by Tom Soanes as a farm-based business in 1947, Soanes Poultry has been rearing and preparing poultry for more than 70 years.

All of its chickens are reared by the Soanes family and their farming neighbours.

They use their arable farming expertise to grow the finest wheat to be used for feed and use their animal husbandry experience to produce what they say is “exceptionally tasty chicken”.

The firm which is in the running for Large Business of the Year sells its multi-award winning chicken to butchers, restaurateurs and independent retailers in Yorkshire and to wholesalers and catering butchers nationwide.

The firm hasn’t always enjoyed success.

At the end of 2012, the business was losing money and had only months to survive. There was a lack of investment and direction.

In 2013, Nigel Upson was appointed general manager and the firm developed a strategic plan which guides its day to day and long-term activities.

Since 2015, it has invested £3.5 million in a programme that has delivered substantial quality improvement, significant improvement in efficiency and output.

These changes have delivered turnover growth of 19 per cent in the last two years and an increase in the workforce from 95 to 121.

The 2019/20 turnover forecast is up another five per cent.

Soanes will continue to support this growth with an extended sales team and a continued five digit multi-channel marketing campaign.

They say: “We are proud to be one of the area’s largest employers and contribute £4 million to the local economy in wages and direct services.

“We also buy goods and services locally wherever possible and support the village school and local charities.”