The 42 finalists in the 2008 Farmers Weekly Awards have been revealed. The judges had a difficult task to select out three finalists from the outstanding number of high quality entries in the 14 different award categories.
On-farm judging of the 42 finalists is now taking place with a panel of judges for each category, comprising an independent judge, last year’s winner an FW member of staff and sponsor representative. The winners names are revealed at the Awards Night on Monday October 27 in the Great Room at the London Grosvenor House Hotel at a glittering ceremony to applaud all that is great about British farming.
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Beef Farmer of the Year sponsored McDonald’s
1. Bridget Borlase, Hertford
Traditional mixed 357ha family farm producing high-quality pedigree Simmental cattle complemented by a finishing unit for marketing under Bridget B’s traditional meats.
2. Philip Heard, Okehampton, Devon
A 267ha upland farm running 340 suckler cows producing quality suckler calves for sale in October. Philip runs a low-input, easy-to-manage system to high environmental standards.
3. Stuart Hutchings, Hereford
A 1010ha lowland farm running 240 suckler cows finishing deadweight to Dawn Meats and Marches Quality meat.
Local Food Farmer of the Year sponsored by Farmshop.uk.com
4. Richard Stirling, Hampshire
Richard created a hub for local produce and provided local employment through his livestock and retail businesses. Home-produced meat and speciality food sales have grown year on year.
5. Douglas Wanstall, Ashford, Kent
In just six years, Douglas has built up a local food distribution business serving shops, hotels, restaurants, schools and hospitals into a business with a £5m turnover.
6. Jane and Brian Down, Dorset
Jane and Brian launched their shop three years ago. Selling their own produce and food supplied by local farmers was a way of securing other incomes beyond dairy farming.
Sheep Farmer of the Year sponsored by Footvax
7. Crosby Cleland, Northern Ireland
Lower-cost structures are fundamental to the sheep enterprise, which consists of 800 ewes run alongside a fencing business. Crosby has established a Rissington Highlander flock to supply Northern Irish farmers for Marks and Spencer.
8. R J and A C Hawke, Wiltshire
Minimal input sheep farming on lower-quality grassland is the aim for the Hawkes. With 650 Romney ewes, these first-generation farmers set up a boxed lamb scheme which enjoys rapidly rising demand.
9. Stuart Davies, Brecon
Meeting the needs of commercial sheep farmers is the aim for Stuart, who runs pedigree Talybont Welsh Mountains and pedigree Suffolks. He is adamant the pedigree tups he sells must perform in commercial conditions.
Farm Manager of the Year sponsored by Claas
10. James Thompson, Lincolnshire
James manages a 4000ha mixed arable farm, created from one of the largest land acquisitions in recent years by the Hansen family. He has dealt with a new business that has rapidly doubled in size.
11. Matt Solley, Hertfordshire
Matt manages 2225ha of arable cropping, with excellent capital planning and effective asset budgeting. He communicates well with stakeholders, managing blocks of land across a 30-mile radius.
12. Mickey Daly, Lincolnshire
Mickey has 1100ha of arable farming to manage, and a contracting business and machinery hire operation. Under his management, Agriserve’s contract farming acreage has grown by 80%.
Diversification of the Year sponsored by James Miles-Hobbs
13. Roger Mercer, Staffordshire
Roger farms 1600ha. The family enterprise has grown from a pig unit and 400ha of arable to include free-range chickens, offices, light industrial units and a biogas plant, providing the local area with electricity.
14. Charlie Davies-Gilbert, East Sussex
Charlie has developed a 100ha farm in Sussex to become a tourist destination. The farm now includes a brewery, holiday cottages, a tea room, farmers’ market and walking and cycling trails.
15. Tim Barton, Wiltshire
Tim sells his crops as animal feeds in his shop. The 700ha farm includes a coffee shop, a commercial grain store, holiday lets and a biomass boiler, providing heat for the entire enterprise.
Livestock Adviser of the Year sponsored by Silotite
16. Mark Hawe, Northern Ireland
Mark educates and advises pig farmers and has been largely responsible for initiating benchmarking among the province’s pig producers.
17. Graeme Surtees, Lancaster
Dairy farming is the core of Graeme’s business, with more than 90% of his clients running dairy enterprises. Having worked in practical dairy farming, he feels the best way to get to know his clients’ farms is to get out among their cows.
18. Jonathan Statham, North Yorkshire
Vet Jonathan is among the modern breed of his profession. He is actively involved in herd health planning and preventative medicine, rather than the traditional “fire brigade” approach.
Arable Farmer of the Year sponsored by GrowHow
19. Richard Hinchliffe, East Yorkshire
Richard owns Hinchliffe Farms, which has expanded to cover 450ha. He grows seed and commercial crops, hosting trials and has a well-visited biodiversity site.
20. Poul Hovesen, Norfolk
Poul manages a 2100ha private estate. He is the winner of Norfolk Farm Business Championship Competition 2007. The farm owner has major conservation interests.
21. Andrew Ward, Lincolnshire
Andrew has increased the farm size from 365ha in 1996 to 650ha. The farm hosted Cereals 2004 and 2008. He is a min-till enthusiast with particular interest in cost management.
Contractor of the Year sponsored by Michelin Exelagri
22. Jane Targett, Somerset
A family-run business covering 1800ha of silage and corn. The family also runs a 400ha farm with 500 pedigree Holstein cattle and 200ha of arable. Customer focus and an understanding of environmental issues are key.
23. Duncan Maughan, Cumbria
Duncan’s agricultural contracting business includes forage, cultivation and slurry work with ancillary services available on an ad-hoc basis serving 38 clients within a 30-mile radius. A new business plan includes a biogas plant development.
24. Gary Short, Berkshire
A family-owned business offering a range of farm contract services to customers across south-east England. The business is now over 20 years old and continues to change to meet diversified customer requirements.
Countryside Farmer of the Year sponsored by Environment Agency
25. Ian Waller, Buckinghamshire
Ian farms 480ha with a further 320ha contract-farmed. A tenant farmer in an area of outstanding natural beauty, he aims to produce premium crops and to manage the landscape sympathetically.
26. Andrew Brown, Leicestershire
Andrew has 252ha of land – 60% arable and 40% permanent pasture. Careful crop and livestock management goes hand in hand with care for the environment.
27. Keith Siddorn, Chester
Meadow Bank comprises 110ha with cattle, 5000 bacon pigs and arable crops. Working with schools and colleges and with more than 2500 visitors to his farm, Keith shows how a commercial farm can look after the environment and make a profit.
Poultry Farmer of the Year sponsored by EB Equipment
28. David and Helen Brass, Cumbria
Set up in 1997, the specialist free-range and organic egg producers have 350,000 chickens. The couple have developed their own biodiversity plan.
29. Robert and Ethel Chapman, Aberdeenshire
The Farmlay flock comprises 145,000 conventionally caged birds, 45,000 enriched aviary birds and 45,000 birds on free range.Forward thinking, they were the first to invest in enriched cages in Scotland.
30. Adrian and James Potter, North Yorkshire
James and Adrian have a free-range egg producer and packing business. There are 170,000 free-range birds plus 27,000 organic free range at Catton and 100,000 free-range birds at Hoads Farm, Sussex.
Arable Adviser of the Year sponsored by Crops
31. Rob Hughes, Agrovista
Rob provides advice on 3500ha in Shropshire. He aims to gain a complete understanding of his clients’ business so he can help focus on the enterprises that increase margins and profitability.
32. Bryce Rham, independent agronomist
Based in Shropshire, Bryce has expanded his business from 2000ha to 7500ha in the past 15 years, and has a track record of innovation and leadership in the industry.
33. Andrew Cotton, independent agronomist
Andrew highlighted his impact on several farm businesses in the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire area. His development and training of his son, Luke, as an agronomist has allowed his business to expand.
Pig Farmer of the Year sponsored by Waitrose
34. Andrew Freemantle, Exeter
With 280 sows and just 30ha, Andrew describes himself as a farmer, retailer and caterer, having set up Kenniford Farm Shop and a hog-roasting business.
35. Kevin Gilbert, Aberdeenshire
A mixed farm business including 450 sows that practises and trials new innovations in the pig sector, but is clearly aware of the need to educate the next generation of consumers.
36. Mark and Paul Hayward, Suffolk
When 650 sows and progeny were not generating sufficient margin, Mark and Paul created the Dingley Dell brand and marketed direct to consumers and local and national retail chains.
Young Farmer of the Year sponsored by Massey Ferguson
37. Nick Baird, West Sussex
Nick has a 1000ha unit producing arable crops, potatoes and pigs. He is passionate about the potato business and has a reputation for supplying top-quality products to a range of outlets.
38. Adam Metcalfe, North Yorkshire
Adam started his farming and contracting business when he was16. Since then, he has built up a huge business, which he now runs in tandem with the family farm.
39. Adrian Ivory, Perthshire
Adrian is renowned for his pedigree cattle. Adrian’s target is “to run a system where the rate or return earned on capital employed, matches or exceeds the average supermarket”.
Dairy Farmer of the Year sponsored by Dairy Co
40. Charles Whittingham, Denbighshire
91ha (225-acre) grassland farm, milking 320 cows. Charles responded to local market needs to switch from pedigree Holsteins to Jersey cows, using a simple system to produce high profits. He puts emphasis on cow health.
41. Martin Evans, Shropshire
176ha (434-acre) of owned and tenanted land, milking 269 pedigree Holsteins. Martin has built this business up from scratch, expanding and modernising at every opportunity.
42. John Round, Gloucestershire
156ha (385-acre) farm, milking 300+ Holstein Friesians. John has aimed to spread his fixed costs over as many litres as possible, but paid special attention to longevity. He is keen on preserving the environment and communicating with consumers.