A 21-year-old Cambridge University graduate with no farming background has been revealed as the winner of the Farmers Apprentice 2012.
In the dramatic final episode of the Farmers Apprentice web TV series, George Brown was revealed as the overall winner of the competition, taking home a £10,000 prize to kick-start his career in farming.
George went head to head with nine other aspiring farmers at farming “bootcamp”. Over the course of a week they were mentored and tested through a range of real-life farm tasks, from developing a mobile app for farmers and presenting a formal business pitch, to weighing pigs and mastering the UK’s most high-tech GPS tractor.
George won over the judges from day one with his drive and determination to get the job done. He scored highly in all the tasks, balancing sound practical skills with business acumen. The judges, a panel of three farming experts, described him as a “natural leader”, a “quick learner who is hungry for knowledge” and “someone who is willing to take risks, go big and think outside the box”.
George is currently working on a dairy farm in New Zealand to build on his practical farm experience, and got the shock of his life when a film crew turned up to surprise him with the news.
“It still hasn’t properly sunk in, because it was totally out of the blue,” he said.
“The other contestants were all really good. Some were very different to me, but I thought a few of them would walk all over me, so I was amazed to come out on top. Winning doesn’t fundamentally change what I want to do, but it brings what I can afford to do forward by about a year.”
George plans to use the £10,000 prize money to buy 30 heifer calves – the first step to building a career as a dairy farm manager.
Farmers Weekly editor Jane King said: “George has shown that a family background in farming isn’t compulsory and that the brightest young people can build great careers in agriculture. George is focused, professional, works extremely hard, is a superb communicator and sees the bigger picture.
“With all these qualities you would expect him to be arrogant – far from it, he has tremendous humility and knows he has a lot to learn. That kind of attitude and entrepreneurial spirit are going to take him a long way in the industry he loves.”
Nina Prichard, agriculture consultant at McDonald’s UK said: “George is exactly the kind of progressive young farmer who will be vital to securing the future of the industry.
“His willingness to learn and the initiative he has shown in understanding the blend of business and farming skills needed to succeed in the sector makes him a worthy winner. We’re confident that he will become a fantastic ambassador for first-generation farmers and help encourage more young people to think seriously about a career in farming.”
Watch the final episode, and catch up on the whole five-part series at www.farmersapprentice.co.uk/episodes
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