Arable

Farmers Weekly Awards 2012: Are you an arable contender?

Wednesday 11 April 2012 09:19
Colin McGregor, 2011 Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year

Are you an arable farmer who is successfully coping with drought conditions and rising disease pressure? If you are an efficient grower, with a vibrant farm business, you could be an ideal candidate for the 2012 Farmers Weekly Awards.

Who you need to impress

Judging the category this year are Strutt and Parker's Jock Willmott, Farmers Weekly's arable editor Richard Allison and last year's winner Colin McGregor (pictured).

For Jock Willmott, the ingredients for success are clear: "I will be looking for businesses that punch above their weight, given the resources at their disposal; businesses that are consistent and focused on profitable farming; businesses with an eye on the future."

More specifically, the judges are seeking clear thinking in five key areas:

• Crop productivity

• Volatile prices

• Climate change

• Energy costs

• Staff management

Optimising crop production is the heart of every arable enterprise, so what is being done to improve this? Better prices can encourage experimentation, so how are you investing in new varieties and growing techniques?

But volatile market prices, and ever-increasing input costs, demand clear buying and selling strategies, accommodating the cash demands and working capital requirements of a farm's various enterprises.

Erratic weather patterns this spring also highlight the need for farm-specific strategies that can cope with our increasingly challenging climate.

Every business is also grappling with rising fuel and energy costs, with a fresh approach to sourcing, purchasing and storage required, maybe including changes to on-farm operations, using fuel efficient technologies and even producing your own energy.

Finally, well-motivated staff are a big driver of success. Having informed decision makers in the team helps ensure the attention to detail that is so necessary. So, are you developing your workers – whether employees or family labour – agreeing mutual goals to retain them and maybe incentivising them in novel ways, too?

The judges look forward to hearing from Britain's top arable farmers. Are you one of them?

How to enter

Visit the Farmers Weekly Awards website and enter by filling in the online form. You can also nominate a family member or neighbour. Entries must be in by 30 April 2012.

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