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.
Stephen has been running the business for over 15 years. Stephen’s passion lies in producing the best fibre feeds and improving the environment. These, along with sustainability and achieving Net Zero by 2025, are his key targets for the business. Stephen is keen to ensure that the company is one of the leading innovators in fibre feed.
Jude manages the company’s accounts and is always on stand-by to offer a helping hand and advice in the office. Jude is also responsible for retail support and customer service. Always to be found smiling and with her dog Midge by her side.
Lauren joined Honeychop in 2019 to support the day to day running of the office. Lauren holds a 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.
Lee, is responsible for production and ensuring all our feeds are made to the highest standard. A true countryman and wildlife enthusiast Lee spends his free time outdoors in the field.
Ash joined Honeychop last year and has soon settled in to Honeychop life. Ash is responsible for loading and picking orders and stock levels. Outside of work Ash enjoys shouting “Ipswich” at the northern end of Portman Road.
Oli is Stephen and Jude’s son. Between studying he spends all his holidays and free time working in the business. Oli enjoys any free time he has on the farm and in the countryside.
Rachel is now starting her family and will be taking maternity leave from 1st April 2022. Please contact Dena or the office if you have any enquiries.
Susie is our Southern 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. Susie is always happy to assist with any questions you may have.
Patrick Robertson and Buddy
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 he also ran a national hunt yard. He is the friendly, smiley face you may bump into in northern feed stores and he’ll always be happy to answer any feed related questions you may have…. and of course tell you the odd tale or two with his dog, Buddy!
Area Sales manager for Scotland, Liz has been in the feed industry for over 30 years and still loves every minute. Well respected throughout Scotland, Liz will be happy to assist you in any way. Liz has worked with and owned horses all her life and her current disciplines are dressage and show jumping.
Area Sales Manager for East Anglia and the Midlands. Dena returns to Honeychop having spent two years at Dengie. Dena brings to the team a wealth of retail knowledge and support skills. Outside of work Dena loves anything bright, creative and colourful and enjoys her walking holidays in the countryside.