2 November 2001

Your heroes and villains…

British farming needs heroes like never before. We want your help to honour the achievements of someone who

has shown leadership in dark times. Enter today…you could

win a food hamper worth £200. Isabel Davies reports

WIN yourself a magnificent food hamper worth £200 by voting in this years Farm Personality of the Year Awards.

Everyone who votes will have their names entered into a draw with the opportunity of winning a basket of goodies including a bottle of top-quality English wine. So why not put yourself in the running?

We are looking for the heroes of our industry to thank them for their efforts over the past 12 months. The awards are designed to recognise the personalities who have done the most to fight for British food, farming and the countryside in a year the industry would rather forget. It is the third year of the competition which was won in 1999 by south-west farmer Richard Haddock and in 2000 by Farmers For Action chairman David Handley.

So do you think NFU leader Ben Gill has been successful in representing the views of farmers to the public and the government? Or do you believe Jim Walker of NFU Scotland or Bob Parry of the Farmers Union of Wales were better at putting across their case?

Perhaps there someone in your area who is not included on our list who you feel deserves a pat on the back. Maybe your next door neighbour, your wife or your local NFU group secretary?

The past 12 months have been so traumatic in a sense everyone has been a hero. Livestock farmers who have struggled with foot-and-mouth, arable producers battling the elements, vets, auctioneers and advisers. Some have experienced sights, sounds and smells they will remember all their lives. These people may not be on the accompanying coupon but farmers weekly salutes all your contributions.

This year, for the first time, we also invite you to nominate a villain of the year. Who in your view has done their best to make farming in 2001 as difficult as possible? Is there a politician or a farm leader who has really got up your nose and you feel needs to be told? farmers weekly will send a pair of wellies to the winner of this category on behalf of our readers. We hope they will use them to get out on a farm and can improve their understanding of our industry.

All you need to do to register your vote is fill out the form provided and send it to us by Dec 10, fax us on 020-8652 4005 or visit our web-site www.fwi.co.uk &#42

The candidates

&#8226 Brigadier Alex Birtwistle

Virtually unknown outside the army until he was asked to head the armys foot-and-mouth operation in Cumbria, the Brigadier soon became a household name. Such was his efficiency it took him only five weeks to turn what had looked an impossible situation around. Farmers who dealt with him praised him for being firm but fair.

&#8226 Phoenix the calf

The media loved this photogenic little calf that was found alive days after the rest of the herd had been slaughtered. Phoenixs owners claimed that as the calf had survived it deserved to live. The fate of Phoenix gripped the nation and days later the government caved in to pressure and announced a change in culling policy.

&#8226 Ben Gill

It has been another year of battles for NFU president Ben Gill, fighting the government over agrimoney, welfare problems, movement restrictions and most notably vaccination. His insistence that he could not agree to a policy of vaccination because there were no guarantees gained him friends as well as enemies.

&#8226 Duke of Westminster

In the early days of F&M, the Duke matched Prince Charles £500,000 donation to support a variety of charities set up to help farmers and the wider rural community. Tenants on his estate in Lancashire have been given a six-month rent reprieve to alleviate the financial pressures imposed by the crisis.

&#8226 Gordon Gatwood

The efforts of Rev Gordon Gatwood have helped ensure that anyone phoning charities such as the ARC Addington Fund has been given practical help and support. He has worked tirelessly to make sure the charity can offer grants to anyone employed in the agricultural or allied industries who is struggling as a result of F&M.

&#8226 Anthony Gibson

As regional director for the NFU in the south west, it was Mr Gibsons job to speak up on behalf of his members but his passion and commitment were greatly appreciated by farmers in the region. His candid approach made him a favourite with the media and he became a regular commentator on TV, radio and in newspapers.

&#8226 Guy Thomas-Everard

Guy Thomas-Everard proved to many farmers that there was an alternative to letting government officials slaughter healthy animals. Although MAFF said his animals were dangerous contacts, Mr Thomas-Everard said they showed no signs of the disease and barricaded himself onto his Exmoor farm. MAFF finally backed down over the issue.

&#8226 Nina Planck

F&M halted many farmers markets but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of Nina Planck, one of the key founders of the movement in the UK. Ms Planck has continued to promote the benefits of buying locally-produced food direct from the farmer by writing a cookbook and making a new TV series on the subject.


farmers weekly Farm Personalityof the Year Awards

My vote for the farmers weekly Farm Personality of the Year Award goes to: (Please tick one box)

Brigadier Alex Birtwistle, for using his military expertise to lead the fight against foot-and-mouth in Cumbria.

Phoenix the calf, for highlighting the tragic slaughter of thousands of healthy animals leading to questions about the governments culling policies.

NFU president Ben Gill for his leadership during the most harrowing 12 months in living memory.

Gordon Gatwood, director of the Arthur Rank Centre, for his work with the ARC Addington Fund and other groups offering farmers emotional and financial support.

Duke of Westminster, for highlighting the plight of the industry by waiving his tenants rents and making a generous donation to funds supporting farmers.

Anthony Gibson, regional director for the NFU in the south west, for passionately speaking out on behalf of farmers in his region affected by F&M.

Guy Thomas-Everard, Somerset beef producer, for standing up to officials to protect his 1000 head of healthy cattle from the slaughtermen.

Nina Planck, founder of London Farmers Markets, for her work in helping to promote UK farmers markets.

Name your own candidate: ……………………………………………………………….

I believe my choice deserves to win because: ………………………………………

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farmers weekly Farm Villain of the Year

The following candidate deserves recognition for the misery and hurt he/she has helped inflict on the British agricultural industry during the past year.

Name your own candidate: ……………………………………………………………….

I believe my candidate deserves to win because: …………………………………………………………………………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Name: …………………………………………………………………………………………

Address: ………………………………………………………………………………………

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Tel: ……………………………….. Occupation: …………………………………………

Please post you entry by Dec 10 to Farm Personality of the Year Awards, farmers weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey, SM2 5AS. Or you can fax your reply to 020-8652 4005, e-mail: farmers.weekly@rbi.co.uk or visit our web-site: www.fwi.co.uk