Oil barons win family business accolade

Geoff and Sallyann Kilby started to diversify their farming operations in the 1980s.'         PHOTO: James Hardisty
Geoff and Sallyann Kilby started to diversify their farming operations in the 1980s.' PHOTO: James Hardisty

Wharfe Valley Farms, the rapeseed oil business based at Collingham, near Wetherby, has scooped this year’s Yorkshire Family Business of the Year Award.

The firm, which is run by Geoffrey and Sallyann Kilby with their son Stephen and employs 20 people, beat off stiff competition to receive the public vote and win the People’s Choice Family Business of the Year Award for Yorkshire, which is part of the Family Business of the Year Awards, organised by Family Business United.

“Ours is a family business through and through,” said Sallyann Kilby. “It is born out of, and thrives on, a family’s commitment to each other and over the years has gone from strength to strength. At Wharfe Valley we pull together as a team and view everyone who works for us as part of our extended family.”

The Kilbys added oilseed rape to their traditional crop rotation in the early 1980s. It thrived and the family launched their plain rapeseed oil in 2006. They now also produce infused oils and have deals with several major supermarkets.

Further diversification has led to the launch of Wharfe Valley Stores, Wharfe Valley Hearths and Wharfe Valley Bathrooms divisions.