On the eve of the Farmers Weekly Awards night last year, I never imagined I would come away with an award – let alone taking the Farmer of the Year award back to Leicester.
It has been an interesting year and many people have asked how winning the award has changed my life. So I just thought I would pen some of the highlights in my final Farmer Focus column.
On arriving back to Stoughton, I was met at the farm office with balloons and champagne and the guys were pleased for me, which I believe, reflects the efforts of everyone on the farm. This meant an awful lot as they had supported me through lots of changes to the farming business.
To be invited as guest editor for Farmers Weekly for one week, which was unprecedented in the magazine’s 75-year history, was a daunting, but exciting thought. From a young lad looking over dad’s shoulder at his copy of Farmers Weekly, to be able to have an input in a week’s edition was an incredible privilege. I shall always remember it with great fondness.
I was also honoured to be part of a Farmers Weekly awards category judging team, and that of the team judging the overall winner. I saw other people’s ideas, businesses and their approaches on many different topics, ranging from stewardship to cultivations and drilling techniques, including up and coming precision farming methods. It was difficult with all the good points on show to find this year’s winner.
And now after 23 years with the The Co-operative Farms, I am moving to pastures new. Without a shadow of a doubt, the Farmers Weekly Awards have been a pivotal point within my career and I would urge everyone to have a go at entering next year.