Bemborough Farm, Cotswold Farm Park, Gloucestershire
Sponsored by National Farmers Union
It is not simply his TV work that marks Adam Henson out. He has been a tireless ambassador for British farming.
He has attended just about every major event this year either to take the chair, to be involved in question times or simply to give the benefit of his views and practical experiences across a huge range of farming issues.
His inclusion has brought a decent and much-needed helping of farming reality to prime-time viewing, exposing everything from the gritty hardships of losing stock to the highs of lambing.
The insight he gives into the rudiments of farming business is clear, concise and carefully pitched at a level that appeals to both the farming and non-farming public.
Explaining subjects that range from marketing barley to the scourge of bovine tuberculosis he has shown the diversity of farming business and the raw emotion of farming life.
During one episode of Countryfile Adam reported on TB testing at his Cotswold farm. Barely able to disguise his emotions he conveyed the heartbreak of losing a prized Longhorn steer.
That element of farming, usually out of sight, to the urban British public, was laid bare for the programme’s 6m viewers to experience.
It helped to dispel myths of an uncaring industry so often pushed by farming’s detractors and single-issue pressure groups.
Earlier this year Adam reported from a Welsh sheep farm for BBC 2’s Lambing Live series in February. The series followed Jim and Kate Beavans’ sheep farm in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons near Abergavenny.
Adam provided an expert opinion of the lambing effort as it progressed and an informative breakdown of the British sheep industry.
FWi forum user Viewfromtheotherside watched the show and applauded Adam.
“When his co-presenter Kate Humble was upset at the loss of a lamb Adam added his perspective,” said Viewfromtheotherside.
It was left to the tougher farming nut and co-presenter Adam to explain that he had learned losses like that sometimes happened and there was nothing you could do about them. But he added that even after a life in farming, things like that still affected him.
“We shouldn’t be afraid to show this caring side, it will win us friends. Let us keep these positive farming stories in the mainstream press. It’s the best way to keep us in the minds of our customers,” he said.
WHY HE WON
• Credibility founded on practical farming credentials
• Adam broke into TV in 2001 with Countryfile after the programme ran a presenter search which attracted 3500 applicants
• Manages spring barley and oilseed rape, with a flock of 350 commercial ewes 1000 commercial sheep on his 658ha mixed farm
• Runs the Cotswold Farm Park which has more than 50 flocks and herds of rare-breed farm animals including 200 pigs, 15 different breeds of sheep and a small herd of Highland cattle. The farm attracts 70,000 visitors a year
Adam has not only helped to bring farming to prime-time television but his clarity and down-to-earth style have made the industry accessible and attractive to millions of viewers who might not otherwise have given farming a second thought.
He has made a massive contribution to a better understanding of what the sector offers, why it matters and crucially shown why farming deserves the backing of the public.
That support can be turned directly into demand for our products and is crucial if we want the government of the day or retailers to sit up and help farmers to respond to the challenges of the future.
As he’s championed the industry, Adam has not only improved the public perception of farming but he has also helped farmers to feel proud of what they do.
Farming needs champions and Adam is a deserving winner of this award.