The Royal Smithfield Club’s president HRH The Countess of Wessex has presented the former Waitrose & Partners director, Heather Jenkins, with the Club’s annual Bicentenary Trophy in recognition of 30 years of outstanding service to the agriculture and meat sectors.

As Waitrose & Partners director for meat, poultry, fish, frozen food and dairy, and director of agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries strategy, Heather Jenkins pioneered many industry-leading initiatives during her career as well as working extensively to positively influence Government food and farming policies.

The Royal Smithfield Club Bicentenary Trophy celebrates the bi-centenary of the founding of the Smithfield Club in 1798. The trophy is awarded each year to a person or organisation deemed to have made a significant contribution to the UK meat industry.

The Countess thanked Heather Jenkins for her dedication and commitment to UK farming. The Award was presented to her by the Countess following an industry strategy group meeting of the Smithfield Forum at Convocation Hall, Westminster, London.

Announcing the Award, Club chairman William Bedell said Heather Jenkins’s influence on UK farming and livestock production had been both positive and wide-ranging.

“Her role in the success of Waitrose & Partners support for UK agriculture and the success of the wider business cannot be overstated, and neither can her support for and love of farming,” Bedell said.

Jenkins supported a policy that ensured Waitrose & Partners pioneered short supply chains, close links with its farmers and the sale of mostly British produced meat.

She also insisted on award-winning animal welfare standards across its supply chain including the production of its Continental meats. All positions the business continues to maintain.

Her wider support of British farming has led to various UK industry firsts, including male dairy calves into the beef and veal supply chain, and a Farming Partnership scheme to help farmers manage costs, drive innovation and research, and reduce their dependence on imported soya beans for animal feed.

She also positioned Waitrose to become the first supermarket buyer to sell only free-range eggs.

“From lairage design to butchery standards, factory design, improved animal welfare and industry-leading relationships with farmers, fishermen, and other suppliers, Heather has been involved,” Bedell concluded.

Heather Jenkins is the 19th recipient of the annual Award which includes presentation of the Club’s Armada Shield.