Three farmers have been recognised for their contribution to UK agriculture in awards that highlight work to promote the industry and business resilience to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Wallace Currie, the 24-year-old founder of Rural2Kitchen, which explains the field-to-fork journey to consumers, was highly commended in NFU Mutual’s Inspirational Young Person Awards.
Mr Currie, from a livestock farm on the Isle of Arran, uses social media to discuss farm topics such as the importance of sourcing local food, grass-fed livestock systems and grain supply.
His podcast, R2Kast, in which he speaks to different people from the industry, has been credited with helping to raise awareness among consumers about the realities of farming.
Mr Currie was among four young people highly commended at the awards, which are backed by industry body Scotland Food and highlight the contribution 16- to 26-year-olds make to the country’s food and drink sector.
Mr Currie said he would use his £200 prize money to upgrade his podcast equipment.
“When I was originally contacted about the award I misunderstood and tried to think of people that deserved nominations, before I re-read the message and realised I was being nominated.
“Fast forward four months and finding out I have been highly commended in a world of phenomenally inspirational young people in this industry – I couldn’t be more elated,” Mr Currie said.
Tenant farmers James and Catherine Hadwin have been commended at the Cumbria Farm Business Awards, winning a Covid Resilience prize.
A full awards ceremony was not held this year due to the pandemic, but an event on 8 September recognised businesses from Cumbria that have adapted to cope with the damage caused by Covid-19.
The Hadwins run a dairy sheep flock just outside of Kirkby Lonsdale in the South Lakes.
Before the pandemic, the farm supplied milk to a co-operative of farmers, which in turn supplied cheesemakers up and down the country.
But when the country went into lockdown, the Hadwins lost their contract and had to adapt quickly to save their livelihood.
“The loss of the food service market really crippled our business. We realised we were going to have to go it alone, so we developed the Love Ewe Dairy brand for our own cheeses and bottled milk, and then also started supplying other cheesemakers with our milk directly,” Mr Hadwin told Farmers Weekly.
The hard work has paid off and the business recovered, but the farmers remain cautious. “We are milking more sheep now than we were when we were part of the co-operative, but how long that lasts, who knows?” Mr Hadwin added.
Today we won an award for adapting followithe loss of our milk market due to covid and then adapting and surviving. I can’t tell you how proud we are. March 2019 I received a call to devastate the business. Sept 2021 get an award. Never give up 👍 @gazettenewsdesk @FarmersWeekly pic.twitter.com/O7KjaZHgIf
— James Hadwin (@jameshadwin) September 8, 2021