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Noble Foods, Wye and Usk

Reducing Impact on the Local Environment

We were really interested to hear of a project happening in rural Herefordshire at an RSPCA Assured Happy Egg Co. farm owned by the Orgee family.

Their farm was the site for a joint venture between Noble Foods and the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) to install a feature on a working farm to help slow the flow of water from the site, improve water quality and reduce flood risks.

This nature-based solution has benefited those involved: the farmers, the environment, and local wildlife and has helped to improve biodiversity.

The farm, run by father and son duo, John and Joe Orgee has been RSPCA Assured for more than 10 years and has approximately 48,000 hens.

”For my dad and I, having the support and recognition from RSPCA Assured is something we’re incredibly proud of. It’s another layer of animal welfare standards we’re happy to go above and beyond for. We have been RSPCA Assured since the beginning of our poultry units back in 2016 and high welfare for our hens is something we share with Noble Foods. I also recognise that we’re a part of the local community and I’m really pleased that we’re looking at these new ways to support our environment. It’s a win-win, for us and for nature.”

- Joe Orgee


At Upper Moorend Farm in the heart of rural Herefordshire, owned by the Orgee family, a new project is underway to significantly improve how the farm interacts with the local environment.

The joint venture between Noble Foods and the Wye & Usk Foundation (WUF) has been installed as an attenuation feature on a working farm, helping to slow the flow of water from the site, improve water quality and reduce flood risks. It’s a nature-based solution seen as a win-win for all stakeholders: for farmers, for the environment, for local wildlife and for improving biodiversity.

The WUF is conserving, restoring and improving the environments and habitats of the rivers Wye and Usk, including their catchments, tributaries, watercourses and estuaries. In turn, the Foundation hopes to protect and enhance indigenous species of animal and plant life.


Improving and maintaining the quality of water in the Wye and Usk is a major part of the Foundation’s purpose. Wherever possible, their objective is to prevent pollution from entering surrounding waterways. The region is home to many meat and egg producers, so it’s hoped – over time – that more nature-based solutions will be implemented by producers in the area.

Home to an RSPCA Assured Happy Egg Co. farm, Upper Moorend was an ideal location to trial the wetland and the Orgee family was pleased to bring together teams from WUF and Noble Foods. The creation of this nature-based solution is designed to deliver several environmental benefits. The three key benefits are:

Improved Water Quality
  • The pools also provide additional benefits by trapping traces of excessive nutrients and reducing the nutrient load of the water before it reaches the nearby brook. The plants chosen have nutrient-hungry properties, especially for the nutrient phosphorus, which is a particular concern in the Wye catchment. The system has been designed to provide the longest possible retention time in each pool to allow time for the plants to do their work.
Natural Flood Management
  • To increase the capacity of Upper Moorend’s current attenuation pond, the series of 11 wetland pools is now linked together. The new vegetation in the pools will physically slow down the flow of water through the system and provide extra capacity to store excess water in heavy downpours, releasing it slowly once peak flow has passed.
Improved Biodiversity and Habitats
  • The 11 pools have been planted with 12 different species of vegetation and grasses. They will colonise with other plants from the surrounding area, to form a new, vibrant habitat. The pools will be a varied habitat, providing forage for birds and nectar for pollinators and insects, an aquatic habitat for amphibians and a water source for other wildlife.
  • It’s also anticipated that the vegetation will spread rapidly to cover the water surface, which will greatly reduce the attraction for other waterfowl. A key measure to deter the spread of Avian Influenza.


Crucially, the project has created a test site for everyone to learn from and hopefully gain benefits for the wider industry and farming community.

Volunteers from the WUF and Noble Foods have planted a range of water-loving plants, known for their filtering properties and ability to retain excessive nutrients.

In mixed rows, each of the 11 connected pools has been planted with a mixture of grasses, vegetation and reeds – which will grow and bed in this summer. By next year’s growing season, the plants will have established into a typical wetland, with foliage covering the water’s surface.

Our thanks go out to all volunteers from Noble Foods and the Wye and Usk Foundation – with special thanks, especially to the Orgee family for their hard work and enthusiasm for the project. Find out more about Nobel Foods Projects in Wye & Usk


Carex Riparia

Carex Riparia

Glyceria Maxima

Glyceria Maxima

Typa Angustifolia

Typa Angustifolia

Yellow Flag Iris

Yellow Flag Iris

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