In 1934 Joe Kemp, an accountant by trade, realising there were many small egg producers and no marketing, set up a farmers co operative to market eggs which grew to become Yorkshire Egg Producers in 1947, the biggest egg packing business in the country. He bought a small farm in Driglington near the egg packing stations and the business continued to expand under the leadership of his eldest son Peter becoming Golden Lay Eggs.
Yorkshire Egg Producers
David the younger brother preferred more mixed livestock farming and he moved onto Springfield Farm in Horsforth in 1952, where the family still farm today.
Although a mixed farm, dairy farming was the main enterprise, along with chickens, turkeys and pigs for a time. The farm gradually grew in size as smaller adjacent farms came up for sale or rent
David collecting the eggs
When David's son Rory finished at agricultural college, as well as helping with the dairy cows and pigs, he started a pick your own in 1984 with strawberries, raspberries and other soft fruit, known as Horsforth pick your own. He added a livery yard a few years later which continues to grow and makes haylage for the yard and other local livery yards.
David Retired in 1992 and by then the milking-parlour, that was state of the art when David set it up, was tired, out of date and too small. Rory wished to update it but over the years the farm had become surrounded by new houses and so really it was not practical at this location.
Rory in the milking parlour
The search for a new farm where the dairy could continue resulted in a chance conversation with an arable farmer who Rory had worked for as a harvest student. Rory ended up buying this farm, Glebe farm, in a pretty village in Ryedale and became an arable farmer instead, growing wheat, barley and oilseed rape.
David continued to live at Springfield farm with a few suckler cows to keep an eye on, but when he sadly passed away in 2012 the cattle moved over to Glebe Farm, and since then their numbers have gradually been increasing with the emphasis on grass fed Aberdeen Angus cross for great tasting meat.
Rory's two sons after studying agriculture at University and gaining experience on other farms and with agricultural machinery suppliers/engineers, came home to further diversify the farm. Joe, a keen engineer, proves very useful in making and mending the farm equipment so helps to keep the farm running. He also introduced in 2018 a new venture for the farm, pumpkins at the pick your own in Horsforth ready for Halloween picking.
William is keen to develop the suckler cow enterprise further and manages the herd. Cattle numbers have increased such that the crop rotation at Glebe farm now includes a significant proportion of grassland and new winter housing facilities have been built. We are now able to keep our cattle from birth to maturity on the farm, all fed on home grown produce. He has also introduced sheep to the farm, a first for the Kemp family and sells Yorkshire grown Christmas trees at the PYO for the festive season.
Cattle numbers start to increase significantly
David used to prepare a lot of turkeys for the Christmas trade many years ago. Rory decided it would be a good idea to reintroduce turkeys to the farm, but this time, as with the cattle to go for slow growing, slow maturing turkeys with an emphasis on taste. Bronze turkeys now forage free range at Glebe farm ready for the Christmas market.
Bronze free range turkeys
With a resurgence in popularity of pick your own fruit, the strawberry and raspberry crop has been steadily increasing over the years. A small PYO was introduced at the farm in Malton in 2019, while the one in Horsforth continues to grow. Tabletop strawberries in addition to traditional ground grown ones, were introduced in Horsforth in 2020 to help extend the fruiting season a little, reduce bird damage and reliance on pesticides, and with the bonus for those customers who don’t like to bend making life a little easier!
The Kemp family farm continues to diversify as things around them change,.