Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2022 open for entries

Farmers Weekly’s 2022 Britain’s Fittest Farmer competition is officially open for entries.

The contest focuses on the health and wellbeing of our farmers to get them thinking – and, importantly, talking – about their mental and physical health to ensure they are in top condition to run their business.

Now in its fourth year, the event has become a fixture in the farming calendar, attracting hundreds of competitors from across the UK to come and test their strength and stamina with a range of physical and mental challenges.

See also: Video: Britain’s Fittest Farmer – the 2021 finals

We’re looking for farmers who make fantastic ambassadors for health and fitness in agriculture, to help break the taboo of talking about mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders and rural isolation.

Britain’s Fittest Farmer was devised to bring the subject of mental health into the open in a fun and inclusive way, so you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enter.

We welcome those of all abilities aged 18 and over who are working in UK agriculture, and this year we’ve listened to your feedback and added a new category to the competition for the over-40s.

Last year’s winners were 26-year-old James Arney from Somerset, and 32-year-old Erica Robison from Cumbria. James scooped a historic double win after his first victory in 2020.

“I certainly didn’t think I’d do it a second time,” he said, “but I thought I had to go back and defend my title – so that no one could say it was just luck that I won the first year!”

Contestant at Britain's Fittest Farmer

© Richard Stanton

Along with the other finalists, James and Erica tackled a variety of punishing physical tasks designed to test the limits of their endurance.

The pair also impressed the judges with their insights on mental health and how being in good physical shape has contributed to the psychological strength needed to get them through challenges and tough spells.

James, who works on the family farm, is a big believer in the benefits of exercise – especially for those in full-on, stressful sectors such as farming.

“It can be hard to switch off when you live where you work, and there is always something that needs doing,” he said.

Fitness instructor Erica, who also helps out on her dad’s farm just over the border in Scotland, wants to spread the word about the importance of good mental health.

“Generations ago, mental health issues just weren’t talked about, so there was no help available,” she said. “This is why Britain’s Fittest Farmer is such a great initiative, because it puts equal emphasis on physical and mental health, and the two are so closely linked.”

How to enter

  • Upload an image or video of you staying physically fit on farm to, where you’ll also find all the competition information, including key dates and terms and conditions
  • Tell us a bit about how you champion mental wellbeing in your life
  • Make sure you leave your contact details so we can get in touch