What makes a great farm adviser? It’s one of those odd jobs, isn’t it? You spend all your time on farms, offering advice ranging from business strategy and regulatory compliance to animal health planning and diversification opportunities, but you don’t take your own medicine. Why? Because you’re probably not a farmer. So where does the value come from?
Last year’s winner, Mark Burnell, says: “Advisers need to be motivators. Getting people to work together and maintaining a good balance of intelligent and practical advice is at the hub of being a great adviser.” For Mark, director of Dorset vet Synergy Farm Health, an adviser must have the ability to communicate: “I’d be looking for good communications skills above all else,” he says.
For Mark, the ability to make life simple is also an important attribute that a great farm adviser will offer a client. “Farmers are notoriously time-strapped people and often don’t have the time to research the right decisions for business. So a great farm adviser should be able to sift the good from the bad information.” Stripping the wheat from the chaff, it seems, has never been more important.
This year’s independent judge, Roger Mercer, says: “I will be looking for someone who is genuinely delivering high value and intelligence to their farming clients. What and how they have done this to influence and inspire positive changes to their client’s farm businesses will be critical.”
So is this all part of your daily routine? Are you, or do you know a great farm adviser? If so, entering the 2011 Farmers Weekly Awards is easy. This year, the category is open to all advisers – from agronomists and vets to legal and regulatory specialists, we’re keen to hear from a wide range of specialists.
How to enter
You can enter or nominate someone for 2011 Farmers Weekly Farm Adviser of the Year on the 2011 Farmers Weekly Awards website, or ring Alma Watson on 020 8652 8026 for an entry form. Entries close on 30 April 2011. Nominate someone and you’ll also be entered into a draw to win two tickets to the Awards, plus overnight accommodation.