“No Ordinary People” was the theme underpinning the 2008 Farmers Weekly Awards night last October. A video shown on the night revealed the parallels between farmers, policemen, firemen and doctors – some of the professions which help to bind our society. Each of those professions care for life, are on-call 24 hours a day and have a stewardship role to play in society.
Some wondered whether the comparison of farmers working in harsh conditions with the armed forces might have gone too far. Maybe, but the point nevertheless was made that farmers are fundamental to a modern society that wants high-quality food, a diverse countryside and the protection of its natural resources.
Evidence that this sentiment wasn’t simply marketing spin from the Awards team has come from recent research by the IGD, which commissioned a survey of consumers attitudes towards farmers. The results, now well-publicised, were overwhelmingly positive towards farmers. The general public believe them to be hard-working, under-valued and central to consumers needs.
Yet the same questions, put to the farming audience at the Oxford Farming Conference, reveal this industry still suffers from low self-esteem and a crisis of confidence.
Now is the time to capitalise on a positive public spirit.
The 2009 Awards are a powerful PR tool. It’s not simply an opportunity to raise this industry’s own confidence and self-esteem, but it gives the public the reassurance they want to believe that British farmers are not simply engaging with their own needs but are as critical to society as doctors and nurses.
Say why you – or someone you know – deserves to lift a Farmers Weekly Award trophy. Tell us your story, so that we can tell the world that British farmers are the best.
Debbie Beaton, Awards director
- Arable Adviser of the Year (sponsored by Firestone)
- Arable Farmer of the Year (sponsored by GrowHow)
- Beef Farmer of the Year (sponsored by McDonald’s)
- Contractor of the Year (sponsored by JCB)
- Countryside Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Natural England)
- Dairy Farmer of the Year (sponsored by DairyCo)
- Diversification Farmer of the Year (sponsored by James Miles-Hobbs)
- Farm Manager of the Year (sponsored by Claas)
- Green Energy Farmer of the Year (sponsored by British Sugar)
- Livestock Adviser of the Year (sponsored by Silotite)
- Local Food Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Asda)
- Pig Farmer of The Year (sponsored by Waitrose)
- Poultry Farmer of the Year (sponsored by EB Equipment)
- Sheep Farmer of the Year
- Young Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Massey Ferguson)
- Farming Champion (sponsored by the NFU)
How to enter
Go to the awards website to download an entry form for one of the categories, or enter online, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 8652 4081
What happens next?
- A shortlist of three entries for each category will be selected by an independent category judge and Farmers Weekly
- The shortlisted entrants will be visited by a judging panel in the summer
- All three shortlisted entrants attend the Awards Night on Thursday, 8 October 2009, when the winners in each category are revealed – plus the overall Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year