Farmers take pride in being custodians of the countryside, but proving the social and environmental responsibilities of farming has never been more important.

With initiatives such as the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) high on the political agenda, the agricultural industry is under pressure to show it is taking the challenge of growing more food at less cost to the environment seriously.

Entering the Countryside Farmer of the Year category in the 2011 Farmers Weekly Awards is one way of demonstrating you are doing just that. It is your opportunity to counter some of the negative publicity around the environmental impact of agriculture and show how you are farming in a way that boosts wildlife and biodiversity.

Demonstrating to others how they are managing to integrate production agriculture with wildlife-friendly farming methods was certainly one of the motivations for cousins Brian and Patrick Barker (pictured) to enter the Countryside Farmer category last year.

And it has proved a winning strategy in more ways than one. Being crowned the winners of the category has boosted the Barkers’ confidence and their farming activities.

“The profile that winning this award has given us has also been extremely beneficial to our business and the work we are doing promoting the integration of modern farming and with positive wildlife management,” said Patrick.

“Winning was also an indication the work we are doing is hitting the targets we have set ourselves and what we are doing is appreciated on a wider scale within the industry.”

The judges for the Countryside Farmer of the Year category, this year sponsored by NWF Agriculture, will be looking for entrants who can show they are running a profitable business but with strong environmental credentials.

Entering involves answering five simple questions and you can also submit pictures, environmental audits or business plans to support your entry. The closing date for entries is 30 April 2011.


How to enter

To enter any of the 15 categories of the 2011 Farmers Weekly Awards, go to the awards page, where you can download an entry form, enter online, or nominate someone else.

2011 Farmers Weekly Awards