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high quality welfare, high quality food
history of Oaklands
The success of Oaklands Farm Eggs Ltd has been developed over many years through the hard work, passion and determination of the Griffiths family. 

Farming has always been the life and drive of the Griffiths’ who through their years of hard work have acquired generations of knowledge allowing them to succeed as a major player within today’s UK egg industry. The company is now managed by Gareth and Elwyn Griffiths whom together, continue to offer their customers a first class product produced under the highest levels of welfare and food safety. The business today would not be possible without the devotion put in by Mr and Mrs J A and O Griffiths over the past years. The Griffiths family hopes you enjoy learning about their history as must as they enjoyed creating it.

John Aled Griffiths was born in the June of 1930 in Penmaenmawr, North Wales. With a keen interest in farming and animals from a young age, he successful reared his first day old chicks at the age of 10. Miss Olwen Morgan was born in the September of 1932 into a farming family in Llangollen, Wales. The two first met when
working at Maes-y-ffynon farm in Glyn Ceriog, Wales during January 1950. They both continued their education during this time- Aled attending Aberystwyth University College studying a degree in Agriculture and Dairying and Olwen at Llysfasi Agriculture College before training as a nurse.

Aled and Olwen were married in the November of 1954 in Llangollen where together they moved to Stantley Farm in Minsterley where Aled had been offered a farm managers position. The farm was a 300 acre marginal farm used to rear calves, provide fat lambs and house 60 sows. It was during this time their first son Gareth was born in the September of 1955 followed by son Elwyn in July 1957 and daughter Lynette in December 1958. During 1955 Aled and Olwen took on the tenancy of Stanley Farm and began farming on their own as J A & O Griffiths.

In October 1961 J A & O Griffiths took on the tenancy of a 270 acre farm at Besford House in Preston Brockhurst. The family moved there with 40 cows and followers, 300 welsh breeding ewes and 1000 laying hens. The farm quickly expanded, especially the poultry unit which led to Aled to gaining an interest in automated egg production from a visit to the USA. The trip lead to the purchase of Oaklands Farm in the spring on 1969- the foundation for the egg production operation that exists today.

On the 1st of March 1971 the first 20,000 bird automated egg production unit was stocked in a newly built flat deck deep pit unit. Between 1972 and 1974 a further three units were built and the first Thornber multi-tier cages were installed along with the Oaklands mill allowing the business to produce their own feed for the hens, chicks, pigs and cattle. As the laying units grew, the business had the need to rear their own pullets in order to satisfy their demand for new hens. A rearing unit was installed at the Oaklands during 1975 along with a bigger generator to allow temperature control in the rearing unit.

1979 to 1984 saw a time of family life within the Griffiths family with sons Elwyn and Gareth getting married and moving into farm properties. During this time the ‘& Sons’ became part of the J A & O Griffiths family name.

Up until this point in time, all eggs produced at the Oaklands farm had been marketed through a co-operative called Yorkshire Egg Producers, part of Goldenlay Eggs - both companies of which Aled was director of. During 1983 and 1984, the business moved in a new direction with the realisation that to produce more eggs there was a need to become more involved with the marketing of their product. The packing station at the Oaklands was built during this time and as Yorkshire Egg Producers did not with to grow with the business, a partnership was formed with Stonegate Farmers Ltd.

In 1985 Aled Griffiths was appointed as Chairman of the NFU Poultry Committee in London and Founder Chairman of the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), positions which he held until 1989. He was also appointed Vice President of the COPA-COGECA Poultry Working Group in Brussels which he held until 2005.

The 1990’s was a further busy decade for the Griffiths family which saw an expansion and redevelopment of the packing station, new laying units being constructed and improvements in egg collection and packing. A breaking plant was installed in the Oaklands packing station allowing liquid eggs to be sold to food manufacturing customers.

In 1994 Aled received a call from London’s Buckingham Palace and was awarded the OBE for service to the poultry industry in UK and Europe. During the year he also became a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society (FRAgS).

In 1998 Stonegate Farms departed company from the partnership leaving the Griffiths’ full control of the business from the day old chicks through to the packed eggs leaving The Oaklands site. The Oaklands mill was also closed during this time to provide investment into the poultry business and make space available for storage and drying of the arable crops. All feed began being delivered from Lloyds Animal Feeds, a company which is still being used today with input and computing of diets calculated by son Gareth Griffiths.

In 1999 Aled received the Royal Agricultural Society of England “Award for Excellence in Practical Farming” in recognition of his commitment to innovation and

sustainable stewardship of his land and farming business. Other areas he had also been involved in are;

•  Past member of the Agricultural Wages Board
•  A past governor of Walford Agricultural College
•  An existing member of the British Egg Marketing Board
   (BEMB) Trust
•  A Regional Councillor of the West Midlands
   Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
•  A Governor of Harper Adams University College

As the business welcomed in the 2000 millennium, a busy few years were ahead due to past successes within the poultry industry. Aled Griffiths retired from management during this time allowing his sons Gareth and Elwyn to continue business and further developments.

2005 saw the introduction of a Sanovo boiling plant allowing the business to introduce a new boiled egg product into their range.

Between 2006 and 2008 the business invested in excess of £5 million pounds on technology in their packing station. This enabled Oaklands to not only be the only company in the world to own two state of the art MOBA 500 grading machines but also to inspect, grade, pack, label, box and palletise their product at a rate of 300,000 eggs per hour. From this investment, the company were able to increase their laying units and meet the demands of major retail customers around the country such as Iceland and Netto food stores.

Oaklands Farm Eggs seized the initiative in 2008 to become the first major UK packer to stamp 100 percent of its eggs on farm. All Oaklands eggs are now marked with the method of production, the country of origin and the farm’s unique identity number. The move required all Oaklands Farm suppliers to stamp their eggs on the farm of origin prior to delivery to the Oaklands Farm packing centre, creating a crucial traceability check for the consumer. The company received the breakthrough of the year award at the 2008 British Free Range Egg Producers Association annual meeting for becoming the first packer to commit to stamping 100% of eggs on farm.

2007 saw an announcement of all conventional caged systems by January 2012. This offered Oaklands the opportunity to improve
welfare standards to an all time high within the industry through the construction of enriched colony systems at their site in Shropshire. The first state-of-the-art Tecno colony system which houses birds in 80 bird colony sections, is the only one of its kind in the world and was been built to the highest standards of welfare. The system was completed in the spring of 2009 and now leads the way in production efficiencies.

Oaklands won the Health and Welfare award 2009 at the Pig and Poultry Marketing award held on the 14th of May 2009 for the new Tecno unit. In this category the judges looked for producers who could demonstrate a high standard of livestock production, livestock disease
prevention through effective health, welfare and bio-security regimes and those who are generally raising the standards of animal and human health on farm.

Since the business was first hatched in 1969 with first generation farmers Aled and Olwen, production, technology and success has increased beyond the possible expectations of the Griffiths family. Not only has the family business become a key player within the poultry industry, it has lead the way in innovation, welfare and technology. Today the farm houses a modest 1.6 million layers and the business has recently secured a £20 million investment to secure the farm and supply of eggs to the industry for future generations. The Griffiths family looks forward to what their business may bring to the future industry, community and generations to come.
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