Meet the BFA 2023 New Entrants

Back Meet the BFA 2023 New Entrants

Alex and Emily Crawley are clear examples of doing everything within their power to make a dream become a reality, and rightly being rewarded with the fruit of their labour. Winning the British Farming Award was the first step into transforming their careers in the farming industry.

At the time of being nominated and winning the New Entrants Award last year, they had managed a 0.97 hectares (2.4 acres) of rough pasture land which had no fencing, no livestock and no water while working other jobs away from the farm. Now they manage 81ha (200 acres) in the Wye Valley of St Brivales to become full-time farmers and to live their dreams.

Earning their stripes for hard work and valour to win the award provided a platform for their ideas and business to grow. Their award-winning business, Grazing Management, which supports landowners and managers in reaching their conservation grazing needs by restoring grazing land back into work production, was established in 2018 as the first step in the door to building a career in farming.

Overcoming challenges to reach this point has largely a sole focus of their commitment. Gaining work experience in farming from farmers who were willing to give Alex a chance to fulfil his dream after a career in the Armed Forces as a veteran in the Afghanistan conflict was a pivotal turning point in his career. He also quotes farming as helping to manage a posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis in 2017.

Together, Alex’s experience of conservation grazing and Emily’s knowledge of environmental management has provided the vital ingredients for a successful, rewarding and fulfilling career and life. Alex says: “For any new entrant, trying to build a career in farming without the skills and experience can be extremely difficult. The strength and dedication we have demonstrated day in and day out is testament that with belief and determination, any dream can be achieved. Not only has the award elevated the standing of our business, but it has also built our confidence and reputation among those in the farming community.”

Alex remembers the first day he received the news about earning a land tenancy after winning the British Farming Award. He says: “I have never felt so ecstatic as I did when I could see my farm for the first time. We are now living our best lives and we feel very proud to call ourselves farmers, which was helped massively by winning the award. I cannot wait to be a judge for the New Entrant this year and help progress someone else’s journey into farming. Helping someone achieve their dream like we did will mean so much to us.”