Read all about the shortlisted candidates in Farmers Weekly’s Britain’s Sexiest Farmer contest along with comments from guest judge TV fashionista Gok Wan on what got them there. See whose story inspires you the most, then cast your votes.
James Hall, 32, Somerset
James became a first-time farmer when he set up on his own, having helped on his dad’s farm from a young age. He managed to buy his own on the Somerset Levels and became a calf rearer for Blade Farming.
After a tough year dealing with the floods, James has got his calf-rearing unit back up and running and says that farming wouldn’t be the same without some challenges along the way. He exudes a passion for agriculture, describing it a bit like a drug. He says: “If it’s in your blood, you can’t leave it alone. I have the best office in the world – the great British countryside – and you can’t get any better than that.”
Gok says: “James’ rugged looks and passion for what he does are a perfect combination.”
Josh Knaggs, 20, County Durham
Josh has been brought up on a family farm, with cattle, sheep and arable, and has been involved from an early age. He’s in his second year studying farm management at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester.
One of the things this lad loves about agriculture is the variety of life and, working on a mixed farm, he’s busy all year. Apparently reared on a diet of his mum’s fruitcake, lamb chops and sloe gin, his friend says he is the “star of the shooting team”.
Gok says: “This is one tall, dark and handsome farmer.”
George was nominated by girlfriend Lucy, who says as well as his chiselled jawline and six pack, he has “a caring, funny personality to top it off”. George is an arable farmer and sugar beet contractor, working with his dad in Lincolnshire.
In his spare time he’s a stalwart of Wragby YFC. George says that despite the stick he will get from his mates, he’s really keen to be involved in this competition and spread the word that agriculture is a sexy industry.
Gok says: “George clearly keeps himself in shape and I love his style. Look at that cheeky smile.”
Elliott Rillie, 21, Oxfordshire
Elliott, who is studying agricultural business management at Newcastle University, said that he always gets told “you’re too pretty to be a farmer”, so he decided to “put those years of banter to good use” and give Britain’s Sexiest Farmer a shot.
Elliott worked on dairy, chicken and arable farms in the UK and Australia, getting broad experience before he began his degree, and says that he thinks “farming is by far the most important industry in the world as it is the basis for all other industries”.
Gok says: “This ag student definitely knows how to rock that DJ.”
Laurence Hughes, 54, Snowdonia
Laurence leads a busy life, running the family farm and working in the National Park building walls. His daughter Dani nominated him and said “it’s not just looks that make this man sexy, he’s also an amazing role model”.
He’s a family man and looks after his 91-year-old mum. Dani says that he has a big heart and a great sense of humour. The most “senior” candidate on the shortlist says that farming keeps him young, mentally and physically.
Gok says: “Like a fine wine, Laurence is more mature but still an absolute head-turner.”
Naomi George, 21, Powys
A Cardiff University maths student, Naomi was born into a farming family in the Kerry hills. She loves nothing more than getting back home and helping out – other than, perhaps, getting involved in a Young Farmers’ event. “From a toddler, I have always played an active part of the team, particularly in the lambing season, which is my favourite time of the year.”
Naomi, who hopes to become an accountant specialising in farm accounts, says: “As farmers, we’re feeding the nation. People occasionally need lawyers, doctors, teachers, but every day – three times a day – they need a farmer.”
Gok says: “This academic and outgoing girl can rock any look – from wellies to LBD.”
Laura Bacon, 26, Essex
“Farming is a lovely way of life,” says Laura, who’s a stalwart of the family farm. “You’re never going to become a millionaire, but it’s the lifestyle and the friends that keep you in it.”
When she’s not working hard, she loves getting involved with Brentwood Young Farmers’ Club and has even appeared in a couple of the county’s fundraising calendars. “I’ve met hundreds of people through YFC and absolutely love it.” Laura was nominated by a friend who described her as “a talented farmer who’s fun-loving, kind-hearted and always thinks of others before herself”.
Gok says: “Kind and thoughtful, she has the most amazing eyes.”
Lizi, who works on a mainly arable farm near Skirlaugh, is keen to show the general public that the stereotypical view of farmers is not true. “It’s not all old boys in flat caps and tractors holding up traffic. The reality is that there are a lot of young farmers coming through.”
Describing herself as “a bubbly, outdoorsy bird”, she can turn her hand to anything and dubs the forklift her “company car”. Lizi reckons there’s something magical about farming. “There’s no off button, but it’s really rewarding. If I won the lottery, I’d love to go into rare breeds.”
Gok says: “Focused, positive and gorgeous, she radiates energy and charm.”
Nerys Edwards, 34, Carmarthenshire
Mother-of-four Nerys was nominated by husband Roy. He says: “She is an amazing mother to our four boys and runs her own cake business – she is the perfect example of a true, young, family farmer’s wife who lives her life to the full.
She’s as happy in work clothes on farm duties as she is in full party dress.” The couple run a dairy farm and are investing for the future. “Sometimes you’ve just got to get on with things and give them a go,” says Nerys, who reckons there often simply aren’t enough hours in the week.
Gok says: “A yummy mummy who works phenomenally hard and is a true inspiration.”
Shannon Belfield, 19, Derbyshire
Shannon lives near Flash, the highest-altitude village in England, rising to about 460m above sea level. “Sometimes the hills up here produce difficult farming conditions, especially when it snows,” she says. She works in the local agricultural suppliers and does relief milking three nights a week.
The former Reaseheath student lives and breathes agriculture. “Farming’s important to me because it’s the job my family have done for generations and the only industry I can see myself working in. I love milking as I’m slightly cow-mad.”
Gok says: “Effervescent and quick-witted, she has a winning smile that certainly melts hearts.”
Now return to the voting page to cast your votes. Remember, you can vote for more than one man and more than one woman (but you can’t come back and cast votes on future occasions).