A record number of entries for the 2011 Farmers Weekly Awards has been whittled down to the select few. Here’s the shortlist.
FARM MANAGER OF THE YEAR
Andrew juggles conventional and organic arable crops on this 850ha farm, including potatoes grown for Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.
Spread across a 5,060ha estate, Charlie oversees 350 home-bred elite health-status suckler cows, a 1,200-ewe easycare hill flock and 700 cross-bred grazing dairy cows.
Simon is farm manager of a 1,000ha arable farm, that supports sugar beet, vining peas, combinable crops and Higher-Level Stewardship.
YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR
Andrew has taken a loss-making pig and arable business on the family’s 65ha farm, streamlined and transformed it into a profitable poultry and equine enterprise.
Farm manager Scott has given 850ha Field Barn Farm a complete overhaul since he took charge in 2007, creating a profitable dairy, sheep and arable enterprise.
Thrown into farm management when his father had an accident in 2003, James has almost doubled the size of his dairy herd, developed a strong beef herd and increased profits on the 365ha farm.
COUNTRYSIDE FARMER OF THE YEAR
On Sir Richard Sutton’s 3,300ha Settled Estate near Market Rasen, Chris’ mission is to show how a commercially successful business can have a true commitment to the environment.
With her parents and sister, Fay Smith has developed strong environmental credentials for their 394ha farm, used as a marketing tool for their wild-birdseed business.
Charlie is a second-generation farmer growing a mix of horticultural crops on a 45ha farm with an impressive list of birds and other wildlife species.
LOCAL FOOD FARMER OF THE YEAR
This business has developed catering, wholesale, specialist retailer, and farmers’ market outlets for its prime Aberdeen Angus cattle, lamb and other produce.
Added value and a range of complementary enterprises ensure 95% of the home-milled cereals, vegetables, pigs and turkeys are sold locally or direct off the farm.
Home-grown food for the local community from more than 35 horticultural crops, outdoor pigs and pedigree Hereford cattle, is the essence of Essington Fruit Farm, that Will runs with his parents Richard and Mary.
GREEN ENERGY FARMER OF THE YEAR
John has been at the forefront of promoting bioenergy and grows 130ha short-rotation willow, processed, dried and sold as renewable heat.
A sustainable farmhouse is being built within this 1,940ha beef and lamb unit, which features two micro-hydro systems, while there are plans for a larger wind farm.
• Peter Barfoot, West Sussex
An anaerobic digestion plant converts 25,000t of green waste to electricity and heat, reducing the carbon footprint of this vegetable business by 97%.
DIVERSIFICATION FARMER OF THE YEAR
The Suffolk Food Hall, run in conjunction with two family farms, is housed in a large renovated barn and includes an butchers and bakers.
Packington Moor Events is set to host 120 events during 2011, most of which will be weddings. The family-run farm also includes a farm shop and café.
Farm tours and fishing lakes are just two of the diversifications successfully run by this enterprising family on their mixed unit.
DAIRY FARMER OF THE YEAR
Gavin has taken Higher Boode Farm, Braunton, from loss to profit over five years. Cross breeding has been a key strategy in improving health and fertility.
Costs of production, environment and herd health are high on the agenda for the McDowall family, who have grown the business to a herd of 500.
Parkham Farms has driven down costs of production, while increasing yields and expanding cow numbers to 2,100, all while focusing on cow comfort and health.
BEEF FARMER OF THE YEAR
With a herd of more than 300 suckler cows in the Exmoor National Park, Rupert has been proactive in tackling TB on his farm and was involved in establishing the Exmoor Beef brand.
Finishing cattle cost effectively is key to success for Ed, who farms South Devon and South Devon crosses organically within the Dartmoor National Park.
With 130 Limousin suckler cows, Sam is helping roll out a blueprint for calving heifers at 24 months old and is assessing his carbon footprint for beef production.
SHEEP FARMER OF THE YEAR
The Stott family specialises in sheep dairying, with 450 milk sheep producing milk sold across the North of England through their own co-operative.
Technical and financial efficiency is crucial to success for Douglas and Lynda, who run 1,000 ewes and a herd of 100 pedigree Limousin cows across 280ha.
With 800 lambing ewes and 140 ewe lambs on a mixed hill farm in a lowland area between Bath and Bristol, Performance and appearance are key indicators that matter to Kevin.
PIG FARMER OF THE YEAR
Stuart has invested in technology, staff training and promotion to build a highly efficient 270-sow business, that has innovation as a core objective.
Attention to detail across 10 breeding herds and 90 finishing units has helped David grow the business by an impressive 40% in the past two years.
With a focus on high welfare and selling direct, Anna is building a profitable 2,100-sow outdoor breeding herd and popular free-range pig brand, Anna’s Happy Trotters.
POULTRY FARMER OF THE YEAR
The two sisters set up Sunny Hill Free Range Eggs in 2005 and have since grown it into one of the best-known egg brands in the north.
Broiler production started at Uphouse Farm in 1997 and the business now produces over 5 million chickens a year, using a range of innovations.
High welfare chickens are produced on two sites by this hard-working couple, who are also mindful of their environmental impact.
ARABLE FARMER OF THE YEAR
Ben manages 748ha of cropping, including 188ha as a collaboration with a neighbour, growing milling wheat, feed wheat, oilseed rape, spring beans and millet.
Andrew and Richard farm 1,295ha as a family partnership, growing wheat, barley, oilseed rape, beans and miscanthus.
Farming a total of 2,831ha in the Scottish Borders, Colin manages a farming business that spans wheat, oilseed rape, barley, vining peas, potatoes and spring beans.
FARM ADVISER OF THE YEAR
A ruminant nutritional adviser for Biotal, Ian is a ‘cow troubleshooter’ who is making a big impact on dairy businesses across the northern half of England.
James is well known for farming advice on diversification and specialises on renewable energy, securing £2m grant funding for his farming clients.
Providing conservation advice with Natural England, Matt is clearly making a big impact with the many arable and beef-farming clients supporting him for this award.
FARM CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR
Established just eight years ago, this young and dynamic husband and wife team have grown their business under the ethos of taking hassle away from the farmer.
With over 250 clients spanning several counties, Chris makes a point of visiting them personally each year to establish their needs for the coming season.
This father and son team prides itself on offering complete solutions to both arable and livestock customers from stubble-to-stubble and from field to clamp.
FARM WORKER OF THE YEAR
• Mark Moule, Hertfordshire
Mark has worked on Robert Law’s arable and sheep farm since 1993 and is now senior tractor driver, combine driver and sprayer operator.
• Liliya Kucher, Worcestershire
Liliya manages 120 seasonal workers as well as shouldering lambing and vaccination duties on Andrew Green’s vegetable and sheep farm.
• Damian Males, Lincolnshire
Damian does all the spraying and combining on William Rose’s Manor Farm, and also gets involved with the farm’s Christmas tree enterprise.
2011 Farmers Weekly Awards