30 August 2002

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CLEVER FARM INVENTION IDEAS

IT has been 11 years since farmers weekly started a farm inventions competition, and in that time it has developed into the industrys foremost "made it myself" contest.

Numbers of entries have held remarkably steady at about 100 each year. These have ranged from giant self-propelled foragers to simple gadgets that took half an hour to knock up. What they all have in common is that they save time, money or nuisance around the farm.

Moreover, many of these designs go on to be marketed by the farmer or are taken up by commercial manufacturers. They, therefore, make an important contribution to the UK machinery industry.

This year we have again teamed up with Barclays Bank and the basics of the competition are the same as last year. Once again we are asking you to come up with another batch of clever, useful, time-saving tackle. If you have designed or built a machine in the past five years and would like other farmers to hear about it, get in touch with us.

As usual, we are splitting the machines into three categories.

&#8226 Simple: Typically these will be small gadgets that make life easier around the farm. First prize is £750, second prize is £300 and third prize is £150.

&#8226 Intermediate: We are looking for the more complicated designs here First prize is £750, second prize is £300 and third prize is £150.

&#8226 Complex. These are the real biggies. First prize is £750, second prize is £300 and third prize is £150.

The machines should show evidence of imagination, lateral thinking and the designers ability to solve technical problems. The invention should also have yielded benefits for the farm or contracting business.

Entering the competition is simple. Fill in the accompanying coupon and send it in to us with photographs or drawings of the machine. Judging will take place in October and winners will be notified soon after.

Details of the nine winners will be on the FW stand at Smithfield 2002.

INVENTIONS COMPETITION

Surname……………………………………First name…………………………………..

Address………………………………………………………………………………………

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……………………………………………………..Postcode……………………………..

Phone number………………………………………………………………………………

Farmer Farm manager Farm worker Contractor (tick)

Farm size and type………………………………………………………………………..

When was the invention built?…………………………………………………………..

Tick relevant box

Did you: Design it? Build it? Both?

About how many working days did it take to make?………………………………

How does it work? Please give a brief explanation and provide drawings/photos. Include details on a separate sheet if necessary.

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What benefits has it brought to the farm or contracting business?

Include details on a separate sheet if necessary.

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Cut out this coupon and post it to: Barclays/FW Inventions Competition, Farmers Weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. All photographs and drawings will be returned. Closing date is Oct 11, 2002.

HEADING TO FIT

Sending in details of an invention to FW will not prejudice your chances of gaining a patent on it, provided that you take the following steps, provided by the Institute of Chartered Patent Agents.

1 Entrants are reminded that any PUBLIC disclosure of an invention before a patent application is filed can invalidate any patent later granted.

2 Accordingly, the organisers undertake to treat all entries in complete confidence prior to the announcement of competition results at the end of November 2002.

3 Irrespective of (2) above, any individual considering patent protection should submit his or her entry in a double envelope, the inner securely sealed and clearly marked "Competition entry – patent application likely."

RULES

1. All entries will be examined by a panel of judges who will award the first prize in each category to the entrant who demonstrates the best invention in terms of benefits to the farm or contracting business, good design, imagination and the inventors ability to solve technical problems. Three runner-up prizes and three third prizes will be awarded on the same basis.

2. Decisions of the judges are final, as are those of the editor in all other matters affecting the competition. No correspondence can be entered into and entry implies acceptance of the rules as legally binding.

3. The competition is open to all farmers, farm managers, farm workers and contractors. Entrants must have reached the age of 16 on July 1, 2002. The winners and runners-up will be notified and the result published in farmers weekly. Details of the winning entries will also appear on the farmers weekly stand at the Royal Smithfield Show.