The winners of the 2018 British Farming Awards have been revealed at a fabulous award ceremony last night, held at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham.
More than 700 farmers and industry professionals attended the must-see event, which sold out weeks ahead of its schedule and supported by Morrisons.
Organised by AgriBriefing, parent company of Farmers Guardian, Dairy Farmer and Arable Farming, the 14 awards welcomed entries from across farming’s core sectors including beef, arable, machinery, agricultural students, digital and diversification.
They showed the wealth of innovation and achievements of Britain’s grass root farmers, their families and staff from across the UK.
Guest speaker and former British Army officer Chris Moon took to the stage to speak candidly about the challenges of overcoming adversity.
Having been blown up in a minefield in East Africa and losing an arm and a leg he defied all medical odds and survived, going on to become the one of the world’s first amputee ultra distance runner.
As he also recalled being one of few westerners ever to survive being captured and held hostage by the Khmer Rouge, Chris called upon his audience to use the power of their personality to embrace change even in the most impossible and toughest of circumstances.
Kicking off the evening was the presentation for the Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture Award, given to Mary Mead co-founder of Yeo Valley.
As the biggest organic brand in the UK, nine million homes buy at least one Yeo Valley dairy product including milk, yogurts, crème fraiche and butter every week.
With a career spanning more than 60 years, Mary continues to run the award-winning dairy enterprise across 1,400 acres, employing more than 1,700 people.
Recognised for their product quality, innovation and sustainable farming practises, the company have been awarded three Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the revolutionary way it works with its farming suppliers, encouraging them to turn organic and giving them long-term ‘fair trade’ contract.
Group head of content for Agribriefing, Emma Penny, continued the evening, announcing the gold and silver winners of the evening across the other 13 categories, with many recipients visibly taken aback with emotion and delight at being given such a prestigious accolade.
Sophie Throup, Morrisons agriculture manager, says: “Morrisons is pleased to once again sponsor the British Farming Awards and help celebrate some of the great work British farmers do… As British farming’s biggest supermarket customer, we value the 3,500 farmers and growers we deal with directly and know that by working together, we can build long-term business sustainability through strong and enduring relationships.”
The winner of this year’s Farmers Guardian Farming Hero award is Dr Jude Capper, a leading independent Livestock Sustainability Consultant.
Passionate about the role of animal agriculture in sustainable food production, her current research and knowledge exchange work communicates the global importance of livestock production, while also improving the understanding and knowledge of stakeholders within food production from farmers and retailers to policy-makers and consumers.
Dr Capper also launched a successful social media campaign earlier this year to promote the role of UK dairy farmers and dairy products following a growing backlash from animal activists who present misleading messages to the public.
#Februdairy galvanised British dairy farmers and others within the industry to share their positive and sustainable farming practices with the wider general public to dispel the negative food production myths hitting headlines.
On receiving her award, Dr Capper said: “I am so excited, humbled and overwhelmed to be receiving this award… I would like to accept it on behalf of all the wonderful farmers, industry professionals and supporters who help promote our fabulous industry every single day… It is an absolute pleasure to share our values and explain what we do to the rest of the world. I hope this award will keep pushing us all to do more to tell the amazing story of British agriculture.”