You may only have a few years’ experience of running a farm, managing a business, or working on the family enterprise but, if you’re making a positive impact, you’re never too young to be a Farmers Weekly award-winner.


For dairy and sheep producer Andrew Norton, being crowned 2010 Young Farmer of the Year, aged 31, was confirmation that he was going in the right direction on the 150ha unit he farms in Leicestershire.

Nominated by a friend, Andrew said he hadn’t thought of putting himself forward for the award as he didn’t think he had done enough to deserve even being a finalist.

But the act of filling in the application form helped him realise he had gained skills and developed the business further than he knew.

“Like a lot of young farmers, I knew I was doing the best I could, but I hadn’t recognised how far I’d progressed during my 10 years on the farm until I took stock,” he said.

“It’s been an enormous confidence boost and recognition of the work me and the team have done. It’s given me confidence in my abilities and in the business.”

Andrew said anyone who was thinking about entering should make sure they list all of their achievements on the application form so they really tell the story of their business.

“Put everything down,” he said. “You might not think it’s relevant or particularly special, but put it down – it all helps.”

And as well as the confidence boost of being a finalist, the awards night in London was another reason which made entering worthwhile, Andrew added.

“I would definitely recommend other people to enter, even if it’s just for a great night out in London.

“For me it was a fantastic event I got to share with my mates, as well as a great opportunity to meet all the great and good in the industry.

“You realise what a wonderful industry you are in.”

* To enter the 2011 Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the Year category, sponsored by Massey Ferguson, you need to be 35 or under at the closing date of 30 April. The judges will be looking for business and technical skills, as well as future leadership abilities.


How to enter

To enter any of the 15 categories of the 2011 Farmers Weekly Awards, click here, where you can download an entry form, enter online or nominate someone.