Entries now open for the Oscars of farming

The 2012 Farmers Weekly Awards – the Oscars of the farming industry – are open for entry.

The awards recognise the innovation and achievements of outstanding farmers, demonstrating truly sustainable farming.

This unique campaign attracts farmers from across all sectors, farming sizes and regions.

There are 15 categories covering everything from arable to beef, dairy to diversification as well as green energy to local food.

Now in their eighth year, these awards have the full support of the food and farming industry and are a valuable reminder of the skills, innovation and commitment of British farmers.

“It’s the year to compete and while it may not be the Olympics, winning the prestigious Farmers Weekly Awards yellow plaque is as good as gold, if not better,” says awards director Debbie Beaton.

The rewards from being shortlisted or winning are compelling. Previous finalists have enjoyed lasting benefits to their businesses, which include invaluable free PR, enhanced negotiating power with suppliers and a very big pat on the back to the team that they work with.

If that’s not enough, then the icing on the cake is sharing in the success and celebration of British farming with your friends and family at the awards night on 4 October 2012.

Simply entering the awards commits you to charting the journey you and your farm business have taken over the past few years and the achievements, challenges and innovation that have been made along the way. This in itself is a process that award winners and finalists have found invaluable.

Benefits of winning

For Charlie Russell, the 2011 Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the Year and overall winner, winning has come with not just a very large bill at the Grosvenor, but also the opportunity to be Farmers Weekly’s ambassador on a unique trip to Africa.

Mr Russell, who manages more than 5,000ha at the Glenapp Estate in Ayrshire, will see first-hand the challenges faced by farmers in Africa, learn about some of the innovative Farm Africa projects that are helping them and even bring back lessons that are relevant to UK agriculture.

He said: “The awards ceremony was inspirational and a fantastic night out. However, to bring two awards back to the team at Glenapp was a true honour and recognition that all their hard work and commitment to our various innovative projects have started to pay back.

“Winning the awards has raised our profile as employers, suppliers and customers. This has allowed us to attract some top-calibre candidates to work for us, forge even stronger links with our customers and suppliers and emphasised our wish to exceed expectations in everything we do.”

Charlie Russell

Charlie Russell with DEFRA secretary Caroline Spelman (right), Farmers Weekly editor Jane King (left) and 2011 Awards host Matt Baker.

For 2011 Farmers Weekly Local Food Farmer Will Simkin, who runs a suckler beef herd, outdoor pigs and grows a range of horticultural crops on 73ha at Essington Fruit Farm near Wolverhampton, winning has brought some commercial value.

“The publicity we gained from winning the award and the effect on our business saw an upsurge in staff motivation, enthusiasm and general morale. The customers were also proud to be patrons of a local business that has been recognised nationally and the net result was a 20% increase in takings over the traditionally quiet winter months. The publicity from local papers and radio has been excellent and especially good with a business like ours that needs to advertise to keep turnover rising.”

Find out more about the awards and how to enter

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