Chair of judges Meurig Raymond said: “I was hugely impressed with the standard of entries submitted this year. It was a delight to see at first hand the enthusiasm and drive shown by our food and farming businesses, which continue to innovate and deliver fantastic products for consumers. “Huge congratulations to all the winners who each managed to demonstrate something different and special about their businesses.”
We are delighted to share with you our winners!
Agronomist of the Year
- David Stead, Hutchinsons
The size of farms David advises on, varies from 40 to over 1,000 Ha. David is also the Area Business Manager for Yorkshire, organising and overseeing a team of 6 Agronomist’s and 4 Agronomist agents. He strives to give advice on a wide area of agronomy enabling farmers to ensure financial profitability. One of David’s customers shared, “It is David’s true passion for agronomy that shines through. He has the capacity to think laterally and the depth of his knowledge, attention to detail, willingness to listen and then to explore a variety of solutions, is the key to his success.”
Animal Health Advisor of the Year
- Andrew Davies, Synergy Farm Health
Andrew is greatly respected across the veterinary and farming industry. He originates from a farming family in the Swansea Valley and graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, where he also gained the RCVS Certificate in Cattle Health and Production and with-it Advanced Practitioner status. Andrew became one of the 6 Founding Directors to form Synergy Farm Health. He has played an integral role in reducing the need for the use of antimicrobials. Both on a personal basis and through his team Andrew strives to provide excellent advice and knowledge that ensures the highest standards of animal health and welfare, food quality and productivity in this country.
Farm Business of the Year
- M H Poskitt
Guy Poskitt is the Managing Director of this family business in Yorkshire and he has taken the business from a 550-acre rented farm to a successful agri-business, farming over 7,800 acres of owned, share farmed and rented land. The crops are packed on site for the supermarket, wholesale market and food service industries. The business also has its own AD plant powered by home grown crops and utilises power, generated by solar PV panels, which demonstrates its commitment to renewable energy. They work hard to preserve and protect the environment. Robotics and automation will play a massive part in the business in the future and will be fundamental to its sustainability and success.
Farm Innovation of the Year
- Pollybell Farm, Founder of Earth Rover
Pollybell is a mixed organic farm of 5,000 acres. Pollybell has been the founder and investor of an agri-tech start up business Earth Rover. Earth Rover has licensed the novel technology for its autonomous farming vehicle and laser weeding product as well as a tractor mounted accessible scouting system. Pollybell are taking farming down to the individual plant level by mapping to within 1 cm of each plant. Following on from the trials at Pollybell they are now looking at supplying the product to produce growers in Europe, Africa & the US, as well as utilising the technology on their own farms, to increase productivity.
Farm Manager of the Year
- Andrew Williams, Home Farm Nacton
Andrew has transformed Home Farm Nacton in size, number of workforce and intensity of cropping, since he took over the management in 1996. In the past 20 years, turnover has increased far beyond expectation and all improvements and new technology etc. have been financed by profits, generated through the work that Andrew and his team have carried out. Home Farm Nacton, covers 1950 Ha’s and grows 30 different types of conventional and organic crops. Andrew has shaped the business by investing in water management and irrigation, removing a constraint which once limited production to a limited amount of crops.
Food Innovation of the Year
- Arla Food, Arla Goodness
Arla Foods is committed to being a leader in food nutrition, providing support to consumers through both education & product. The launch of Arla Goodness is the next step in this journey. Arla wanted to tap into growing consumer macro trends and needs around personalised nutrition/health, natural/clean label, protein, low fat products and felt milk was perfectly placed to do this. Consequently, they launched a new added value milk that would drive modernity & be underpinned by clear, compelling functional health benefits that tap into the natural goodness of milk. They were also aware of trying to maintain as natural a product as possible and avoid synthetic fortification to ensure it was ticking the box of clean label and natural for consumers. Arla believe that Arla Goodness is the easy way to give everyone an extra dose of goodness. It is lower in fat than semi skimmed milk, but with a splash more of milk’s natural benefits – meaning consumers get the goodness they need, with none of the fuss. As a farmer owned cooperative, Arla are committed to setting the right examples and they do this through promoting, leading animal welfare standards and working with schools to promote healthy eating.
Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award
- Professor Nigel Gibbens
Nigel is extremely well respected across the farming and Animal Health industry and he has played an integral part in enhancing the health and productivity of livestock farming, across the UK. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from London University in 1981 and spent his initial three years in mixed practice in Derbyshire before gaining a master’s degree in Tropical Veterinary Medicine at Edinburgh University. His work then took him to Belize, where he worked in Government veterinary services (import controls, clinical work and supervision of exporting abattoir) and then Yemen for a further 2 years (rinderpest and sheep and goat pox eradication campaigns and clinical work) before returning to the UK to join the State veterinary service as a field veterinary officer in 1990. Nigel moved to the central animal health policy group in 1996 and worked on International trade negotiations for 8 years, followed by BSE control policy, animal welfare policy and agriculture international relations before becoming the UK Chief Veterinary Officer in May 2008. It wasn’t until February 2018 that Nigel retired from Government service. Some examples of Nigel’s outstanding contributions include: –
Setting up a system of export certification that enabled some exports of animal products, e.g. milk and cheese, to continue during the 2001 FMD epidemic. He led successful negotiations in EU and internationally at the World Animal Health Organisation to end the export ban on British beef in 2005. As CVO, informed, supported and defended the Government strategy to control bovine TB, including badger controls in endemic areas. Secured the reversal of a sudden ban on exports of UK pork to China in December 2014. Led the Government’s preparedness and response to exotic disease from 2008 to 2018, including a series of 13 cases of Avian influenza in poultry in 2016/17, communicating effectively in the media to avoid major public concern or a food scare and consistently supported an evidence-based approach to farm animal welfare, recognising the potential benefits of both intensive and extensive systems for both welfare and health.
Nigel has devoted his whole career to assisting and supporting the animal health and farming industry and his contribution has been greatly appreciated by many.
Progressive Farmer of the Year
- Paul Smith on behalf of Bardsley-England
Bardsley England is a fifth generation, family-run fruit farming business, with 1,062 acres of orchards across 17 different sites in Kent, growing apples, pears, plums and apricots. The business produces over 10,000 tonnes of fruit and is within the five largest growers of top fruit in the UK. Alongside its growing entity, Bardsley England runs a state-of-the-art pack house, where they store, grade, pack and distribute their own fruit whilst also providing a South East hub for over 30 other growers. The facility handles 24,000t of fruit per year and employs over 300 people during peak season. Bardsley England is passionate about having a 360-degree approach with customers and eliminating fruit waste, which is why it started producing natural fruit juices three years ago in order to strive to use up 100% of waste fruit generated from the harvest. Over the last three years they have invested heavily in a major site extension, development and new equipment. The current generations are shaping the business for the future through innovation, quality, empowerment, smart working and a clear investment plan. Bardsley England has a fantastic team of motivated, bright and empowered employees who are key to the business’ success.
Retailer of the Year
The Co-op, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with a store in every postal area from the Highlands to the Scilly Isles. They work with nearly 4,000 farmers and suppliers from all over the UK to source their meat, poultry, dairy and fresh produce. They are doubling the number of local suppliers they work with and extending young farmer programmes and expanding farming groups. For their third year, Co-op are also the official sponsor of Love British Food and British Food Fortnight, which echoes their commitment to British food.
Young Farmer of the Year
- Abi Reader, E Reader & Sons
Abi is a partner in the 3rd generation mixed farm family business. She graduated from the Royal Agricultural University with a BSC and MBA. In addition to playing a very active role on the farm she is also extremely involved in farming in the community and on a national and global platform. She co-founded ‘cows-on-tour’ – educating school children about farming and this year was awarded an MBE for services to farming.
Congratulations to all our 2019 winners and finalists!