Meet the 2018 Farmers Weekly Awards finalists

We’ve sifted through hundreds of entries to arrive at the 2018 Farmers Weekly Awards shortlist. For each of the 14 categories there are three judges – an independent industry expert, last year’s winner and a member of the Farmers Weekly team.

Together, they have visited farms across the UK to find our finalists, who span its length and breadth from the Isle of Wight to Aberdeenshire and County Tyrone to Suffolk. 

Here are our top 41, all vying for a coveted winner’s plaque.

See also: Former Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the Year on how he’s Brexit-proofing his estate

Ag Student of the Year

1. Luke Cox, Tetbury, Gloucestershire

Media-savvy Luke organised Reading University’s first Back British Farming Day to help promote a positive message about agriculture to the public.

2. Alexandra Dunn, Reading, Berkshire

Final-year RAU Cirencester student Alexandra is working on a mobile app to help farmers improve health and safety.

3. Emily Hickman, Prestatyn, Denbighshire

Out to prove agriculture is more than just farming, Harper Adams student Emily has launched an online magazine and blog. 

Arable Farmer of the Year

4. Craig Livingstone, Lockerley Estate, East Tytherley, Hampshire

Former agronomist Craig has raised yields on 800ha north of the New Forest by revamping the rotation and putting a greater focus on soil health.

5. Brian Barker, Lodge Farm, Stowmarket, Suffolk

Brian has slashed the cost of growing wheat on the 513ha family farm, resulting in an arable business that is better placed to thrive post-Brexit.

6. Russell McKenzie, Howsons Lodge, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

Reducing cultivations and using knowledge gained from on-farm trials has improved crop yields on Russell’s 995ha.

Beef Farmer of the Year

7. Andrew Laughton, Southfield Farm, Louth, Lincolnshire

Exemplary animal welfare and EID data capture have resulted in an efficient and profitable outdoor beef enterprise finishing 6,000 store cattle annually. 

8. Natasha and Richard Mann, Iken Hall Farms, Woodbridge, Suffolk

Fertility and growth of 1kg/day are strict requirements for the Mann’s 130-head pedigree Lincoln Red herd, which supplies caterers across Europe and Asia.

9. Ben Harman, Grove Farm, Chesham, Buckinghamshire

Charolais breeder Ben is achieving a 95% AI success rate and 100% reared figure in the past two years, while developing a Wagyu-cross beef product. 

Contractor of the Year

10. Mornios Contract Herdcare, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

Carl and Natalie Martins provide short-term block placement cover for dairy farms. They manage their low-cost business on the road, slotting in seamlessly to allow pressured herdsmen a bit of downtime.

11. Sinclair Contractors, Kinknockie Farm, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Magnus Sinclair’s fastidious approach to record keeping means the business knows the exact cost of every service it provides and can keep a close eye on opportunities to diversify.

12. Westover Farm Contractors, Westover Farm, Calbourne, Isle of Wight

Robert Chapman employs a full-time mechanic to keep the wheels turning during peak seasons, and has a flexible approach to machinery replacement.

Dairy Farmer the Year

13. Will Frost, Childhay Manor, Beaminster, Dorset

Will has built up two enterprises through share and contract farming agreements and is now milking 2,500 goats and 350 cows, producing organic milk.

14. James Tomlinson, Bilsborrow Hall Farm, Preston, Lancashire

This high-health herd of pedigree Holsteins is yielding 11,386kg at 4.27% fat and 3.15% protein with good cow fertility.

15. William Westacott, Home Farm, Sevenoaks, Kent

Tenant farmer William runs a flying herd of 190 autumn calvers, with all cows served to British Blues to maximise calf income.

Diversification of the Year

16. Charlie and Will Moreton, The Wolf Run, Napton, Warwickshire

These sports-mad farming brothers started offering extreme 10km obstacle runs in 2011, and now host six events a year in three counties.

17. Alex Paton & Sons, We hae meat, Cairnhill Farm, Girvan

This family butchery business on the outskirts of the farm supplies meat to hotels, restaurants and retail grocery and food businesses nationwide.

18. Farmer Copleys, Ravensknowle Farm, Pontefract, West Yorkshire

Farmer Copleys started as a dairy farm more than 140 years ago and now has a farm shop, café, restaurant, and hosts many large events.

Farm Adviser of the Year

19. Tom Heathcote, Fisher German, Cossington, Leicester

Tom helped launch Fisher German’s Model Farm and Brexit Health Check. He provides both management and consultancy with a focus on business structure, tax planning and regenerative agriculture.

20. Oliver Hodgkinson, Trefaldwyn Vets, Montgomery, Powys

Oliver aims to improve animal welfare in tandem with farm profitability for 200 clients locally, while on a wider scale he has been heavily involved in disease eradication campaigns such as BVD Free.

21. David Canty, Strutt & Parker, St Albans, Hertfordshire

David has positioned himself as an authority on health and safety, thereby broadening Strutt & Parker’s services and winning new business for the company.

Farm Manager of the Year

22. Andrew Mahon, Glebe Farm,  Podington, Northamptonshire

Andrew has transformed a run-of-the-mill arable farm into a forward-thinking, profitable business with a diverse income. 

23. Mike Shapland, Low Farm,  Bromeswell, Suffolk

Mike manages more than 20 full-time and up to 60 seasonal workers in an expanding business producing thousands of tonnes of conventional and organic vegetables.

24. Chris Singer, Manor Farm, Bledlow, Buckinghamshire

Chris farms wide-ranging soils in a 50-mile radius of the home farm. As land comes back in-hand, he relishes the challenge of incorporating and improving it.

Farmworker of the Year

25. Dylan Williams, Church Farm, Oxhill, Warwickshire

Responsible for 3,500 breeding ewes at Church Farm, Dylan Williams also keeps a small flock of pedigree Llyn ewes, a breed native to his roots in Wales. 

26. Neill Craig, Euximoor Grange Farm, Christchurch, Cambridgeshire

Neill is head planter and drill man on this 5,460ha arable farm. He also has 6,000 followers checking out his machinery photos on Instagram.

27. Richard Fox, Park Farm, Brimfield, Shropshire

Richard is responsible for crop spraying, planting, harvesting and cattle husbandry. He’s also handy with fencing, carpentry, welding, plumbing and fabrication.

Mixed Farmer of the Year

28. Grosvenor Farms Ltd, Aldford, Cheshire

This business runs a 1,750-cow herd producing 60,000 litres/day for Tesco. The arable enterprise works alongside to provide required forage and cereals.

29. David Bell, Fairfield Farm, Colinsburgh, Leven, Fife

With a farm running from sea level up to 192m, David raises a wide variety of crops and livestock including cereals, potatoes, cattle and sheep.

30. Matthew Brownlee, Loughgall, Armagh

Since becoming partner on the family farm six years ago, Matthew has helped create an 80-cow suckler herd, two pig units and change the dairy herd to a robot system.

Pig Farmer of the Year

31. Christian Anderson, Bedfordia Farms, Milton Ernest, Bedford

Operations manager Christian is responsible for running three farms for Bedfordia. His biggest achievement has been the removal of all in-feed medication.

32. Rob and Helen Mutimer, Woodlands Farm, Swannington, Norfolk

Partners in the family business, Rob and Helen farm a high-welfare outdoor breeding herd of 700 sows, finishing all progeny in straw-based sheds through to slaughter. 

Poultry Farmer of the Year

33. Phillip Crawley, Sunrise Eggs, Sileby, Leicestershire

Sunrise Eggs has grown its free-range arm to supply local businesses and national retailers. It prides itself on a reputation for service and strong staff retention.

34. Derek and Jennifer Mckeown, Todds Leap Poultry, Ballygawley, County Tyrone

Despite adverse weather on site, Derek and Jennifer, who supply Moy Park under contract, have progressively improved their hatching eggs.

35. Glen Powell, Ladywath Poultry, Spilsby, Lincolnshire 

Glen started with Moy Park in a support role in 2010. The integrator’s 190,000-bird unit, which he took on in 2016, has put in consistently solid performance ever since.

Sheep farmer of the Year

36. John and Sarah Yeomans, Llwyn y Brain Farm, Newtown, Powys

John and Sarah have increased the carcass weight of their Beulah lambs from 13.6kg to 20kg and are making a credible profit from their traditional 114ha hill farm.

37. Tom and Helen Garland, West Cottage, Langport, Somerset

This couple have set up a profitable sheep milk enterprise from scratch. Their 600 Friesland cross Poll Dorsets ewes supply milk year-round to independent dairies.

38. Gareth Beynon, Rampisham Manor Farms, Dorchester, Dorset

Since becoming head shepherd, Gareth has overhauled the enterprise, switching breeds, moving to outdoor lambing and revitalising grassland management.

Young Farmer of the Year

39. Jacob Anthony, Cwm Risca Farm, Tondu, Bridgend 

Jacob is responsible for 1,000 breeding ewes, and has represented British farming and the next generation at a high level.

40. Hannah Jackson, Brookside Farm, Croglin, Armathwaite, Carlisle

Hannah runs a 120-ewe flock and takes on a variety of contract work. She constantly champions farming to the public and aims to reconnect producers and consumers.

41. Matt Waldie, West Gilston Mains, Leven, Fife

An agricultural degree and time working in Australia have helped Matt set up two businesses on his family’s arable farm, build a pedigree suckler herd and adopt new technologies.

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