Badgers Mead apprentice is top of the class at Plumpton

22nd October 2018

Nev with Leo

A teenager working at Badgers Mead Farm in Five Ashes, near Mayfield, has been named Learner of the Year by his college.

Leo Smith, 19, from Rotherfield, joined Badgers Mead as an apprentice three years ago after leaving school at 16. Since then he has been studying for a Level 2 Diploma Traineeship in Agriculture - working four days a week at the farm looking after chickens and turkeys and one day at Plumpton College.

Leo said: “I really enjoy working at Badgers Mead as something different happens every day. The work really suits me as I am an outside person and the working atmosphere is very supportive. I definitely want to progress my career in agriculture.”

Farm owner Nev Champion added: “Leo is a great lad and a key part of the team. He is really good with the poultry and has developed into a reliable employee. We are very proud of him for doing so well at college and also pleased that we chose to take part in the National Apprenticeship Scheme. I do believe it’s important that we all do our bit to help young people.”

Leo’s tutor at Plumpton Catherine Daw said: “I am very proud of Leo. He went from a student who was not very confident to a young man who knows what he wants to do and being the top apprentice across the whole college. His employer Nev has been supportive every step of the way and is helping Leo to develop his skills in the workplace alongside is college work.”

Nev was the first franchisee for the famous KellyBronze brand after he became convinced by Paul Kelly in the 1980s that his turkeys were going to prove very popular.

Nev has been rearing KellyBronze turkeys ever since at his farm in Five Ashes where they can roam over several acres of woodland.

What makes KellyBronze turkeys different is the way they are bred and raised using traditional farming methods. KellyBronze turkeys roam freely in pastures and at night they shelter in open-sided barns with deep straw and plenty of fresh air.

All KellyBronze turkeys are slow growing and matured over several months. Their feed is based on cereal and vegetable protein. KellyBronze turkeys are bred without additives, drugs or growth promoters and, of course, they are GM free. Our processing methods, too, are traditional. The birds are hand plucked and then hung in a chilled environment for 14 days to develop an even fuller flavour. For more information go to