The Honeychop Story
Honeychop is based on a busy working family farm in the heart of rural Suffolk.
The business began in 1986 when the farm needed to diversify. Production has increased every year and we currently harvest over 600 acres of Conservation Grade oat straw along with a range of other arable crops at Halls Farm. Today the business is run by eighth generation farmer Stephen Honeywood and his wife Jude, along with their dedicated and passionate team.
For a little more on the history of the farm…
On Halls Farm in the heart of rural Suffolk, Robert & Valerie Honeywood were 7th generation farmers looking for a new way to diversify as the farm was no longer a sustainable income, here’s the history of Honeychop.
One day in 1986 their daughter, Elizabeth, brought home her first pony, Liquorice, and along with her a bag of chaff, which then sparked an idea. Having examined the chaff, it appeared to be nothing more than poor quality straw mixed with molasses and Robert knew he could produce a superior product; so that is exactly what the Honeywoods decided to do.
Robert carried out research and spoke to horse owners and nutritionists and began to formulate the first Honeychop products. From his research he found that oat straw is the best straw for horses and ponies; however it is also the most expensive of all the cereal straws. Despite this Robert decided that oat straw must form the basis of all the products he was to produce; he wanted his product to be the best on the market.
He immediately increased the amount of oat straw that was grown on the farm.
Meanwhile, Valerie was busy coming up with a name and designing the logo. Being a family business, Val wanted to come up with a name that was close to home and meant something so she used the prefix of “Honey” (from the family surname) along with the word “chop” which is another common term meaning chaff, which gave her Honeychop.
Although you will not recognise it as today’s logo, here is Val’s original sketch of the very first ever Honeychop logo that she hand drew.
Now, all these years later, Honeychop is still very much a family run company with Robert’s son, Stephen, taking over the reins (excuse the pun) in 1995 when he finished university.
Stephen has taken the company from strength to strength with production increasing year on year. Being a qualified engineer, Stephen brought a wealth of knowledge to the company, installing a state of the art packaging machine to streamline the production and packaging process. He has also enrolled the farm into the Fair To Nature Conservation Grade Scheme, which means we help to preserve the wildlife and help the environment.
When Stephen took over, Halls Farm alone was no longer able to produce enough oat straw to keep up with Honeychop demand, so he sourced other local Fair To Nature Conservation Grade farmers enabling us to maintain the high standards our customers were used to. To read more about our oat straw and our farmers click here
It looks set to continue along the family line with Stephen’s children already taking an interest in the family business. You will often find them packing Honeychop samples, or out in the fields with their dad.
We only use the highest quality natural ingredients, carefully selected and prepared under strict controls.
We use our own home-grown and locally sourced Conservation Grade oat straw rather than wheat or barley straw, because oat straw has a lower lignin content than other straws, making it easier for horses to digest. The result is a superior horse feed that is high in fibre, extremely palatable and above all, nutritious and safe, making it the natural choice for your horse, pony or donkey. We source all our ingredients to ensure that your high standards are always met. Only ingredients that are sourced from approved suppliers, with full traceability, are used in our range. We regularly visit our suppliers to make sure our high environmental standards are being adhered to.
To find out more about the individual ingredients in our products go to: HONEYCHOP INGREDIENTS
Honeychop products are Conservation Grade, which means oat straw used in our products is taken from Conservation Grade farms – which helps to preserve the wildlife and flora of the British countryside.
The Conservation Grade standard is recognised by environmentally concerned organisations such as the RSPB and endorsed by leading conservationists including David Bellamy. Honeychop customers can be assured that by purchasing our products they are helping to maintain the British countryside and it’s wildlife. We are very proud of our bio-diversity and conservation and have over 10% of our farmed land as managed wildlife habitats. As part of our sustainable development we aim to continuously look for ways to improve this and engage the community in our conservation work. Currently Halls Farm is home to over 70 species of birds and 27 species of butterfly.
To find out more about Conservation Grade farming visit: www.conservationgrade.org
Honeychop Horse Feeds are accredited to the BETA UFAS NOPS code.
The BETA UFAS NOPS Code requires us to evaluate the risk of NOPS contamination during every step of the sourcing, storage, transport and manufacturing processes of our products. Optimum measures are in place to minimise the risk of NOPS contamination. Conforming to the Code allows us to use the BETA UFAS NOPS logo on our products and reassures our customers of the strict manufacturing practise that is in place for every step of the process for all of our products. Only the highest standard of ingredients are sourced from approved suppliers, with full traceability – from the packaged product right back to the field where it was grown.
To find out more about this scheme visit: www.beta-uk.org/pages/feed-safety/beta-nops-scheme
Founder of the business and creator of the Honeychop brand. Although Robert now takes it a bit easier, he still is very much involved in the business and has just finished his 63rd harvest on the farm.
Robert’s son, Stephen, has been running the business for over 25 years. Stephen is passionate about the environment and sees this, along with sustainability, as key targets for the business. Stephen is keen to ensure that the company develops into one of the leading innovators in fibre feed.
Jude, Stephen’s wife, manages the company’s accounts and is always on stand-by to offer a helping hand and advice in the office.
Lauren joined Honeychop in 2019 to support the day to day running of the office. Lauren holds an BSc Honours degree in Equine Science and has a keen interest in equine nutrition, but equally enjoys managing the marketing and any new projects that come her way.
Jay joined the business as an apprentice in 2015. Jay is responsible for production along with Lee. Jay also plays a key role on the farm and looks after the crops we harvest to use in our feeds.
Lee, along with Jay, is responsible for production. He also ensures everyone’s orders are picked and ready to be dispatched. When Lee is not busy manufacturing feed he can be found working on the farm.
Oli is Stephen and Jude’s son and, when he is not busy studying for his A- Levels, he can be found in a tractor or helping with any jobs that need doing.
Rachel joined the company in 2011 and ran the office for over eight years but has now moved to our Area Sales Manager for the East. Having worked for the company for so many years she is a Honeychop enthusiast. You may bump into her in stores, at open days or shows throughout the country and she is always willing to chat all things Honeychop with you.
Susie is our South East Area manager and has a wealth of knowledge in horse feed and equine veterinary. After obtaining a degree in Biology, she worked for seven years for a well-known horse feed company and a further seven years within the Equine Veterinary Industry. She is always happy to assist with any questions you may have.
Area Sales Manager for the North, Patrick has forty-six years’ experience in the horse feed industry. In the past he has raced as a jockey and in point to point, and also run a national hunt yard. He is the friendly, smiley face you may bump in to out and about and he’ll always be happy to answer any feed related questions you may have, as well as tell you the odd tale or two!
Tim joined the Honeychop team in August 2019. He has spent many years working with horses, from competing in British Show jumping, producing young horses, and managing large competition yards. Tim now uses his contacts and experience gained during this time to manage the South west and South Wales for Honeychop.