Our 2023 Winners

Agri-Tech Innovator of the Year

James Duke

ADF Milking

A new technology based on ‘intelligent venting’, which has been developed by ADF Milking, is improving dairy cow teat health and speeding up milking times on UK farms. High mouthpiece chamber vacuum levels caused by inconsistency in the size of cow teats will result in external and internal teat swelling. The internal swelling, known as congestion, restricts the capacity of the teat canal, slowing down milk flow and preventing full milk-out. When milk flow is slower, teats are under vacuum for longer, and also at a higher vacuum than necessary, risking trauma. ADF Milking created a solution with InVent, which can detect when the vacuum level rises above a threshold kilopascals. When the threshold is crossed, a valve in the liner mouthpiece chamber opens, injecting clean, foodgrade air into the mouthpiece and reducing vacuum. Each liner is then the perfect fit on every teat during milking.

Sponsored by Low Carbon Agriculture Show

Agricultural Student of the Year

Naomi Ramsay

Scotland Rural College

Naomi Ramsay has overcome many challenges to get where she is today, and she hopes this is an example to others in terms of what can be achieved when you focus on your passion. During lockdown, after years of questioning her own abilities due to her dyslexia diagnosis, she finally decided to pursue her dream of working outdoors with livestock and applied for college – even though she had been accepted numerous times before.

Sponsored by AGCO

Arable Farmer of the Year

Ed Horton 

S.S. Horton & Sons

Gloucestershire, Ed Horton runs a hybrid system based upon amalgamating ideas from the organic sector and traditional farming methods to create a low-input but high gross margin system.

Cover crops and direct drilling are utilised as a way of improving soil structure and organic matter levels to reduce erosion and nitrate leaching. A cover crop is included within the rotation any time a field is not growing a cash crop.

Sponsored by Kramp

Beef Farmer of the Year

G. and D. Pickstock

Brongain Farm

Producing carbon-neutral beef by 2030 using only commercial and affordable methods is the current aim of father and son duo, Greg and Rowan Pickstock.

The newly built Brogain Farm is home to a semi-extensive beef finishing system, where dairy beef calves are reared from two to four weeks of age, through to finishing between 18 and 22 months. The cattle are then processed at the family’s processing site in Telford.

 Sponsored by abp livestock

Contractor of the Year

Kevin Heywood

A.J. Heywood & Sons

Led by Kevin Heywood, A.J Heywood and Sons offers a wide range of services including forage harvesting, combining, crop establishment, slurry spreading and, more recently, groundworks.

Recognising the changes in farming businesses and customer demands for increased insight into the tasks carried out, the business invested heavily in sensing and data collection. Using a John Deere HarvestLab NIR sensing system allows them to provide information reports of silage quality and slurry nutrient consistency when collecting grass and applying slurries. 

 Sponsored by Kuhn

Dairy Farmer of the Year

Patrick Morris-Eyton 

Beckside Farm

Animal health and welfare, efficiency and sustainability are at the heart of Beckside Farm, run by Patrick Morris-Eyton. Keen to take over the management of the business from his father, he spearheaded a development project which has created an optimum environment for the cows to fulfil their potential.

 Sponsored by KW Alternative Feeds

Digital Innovator of the Year

Matt Slack

E.V. Slack and Sons Master Butchers

As a farmer and butcher, Matt Slack knows that British meat is the best in the world so that gives him a running start when he promotes the industry on social media, and he does that with quite remarkable results.

Since he embarked on his social media campaign in 2020 he has notched up more than 100,000 followers, a number that grows daily, and achieved over 50 million views.

 Sponsored by Volac Animal Nutrition & Ecosyl

Diversification of the Year (Small/ Medium)

Amy Bateman

Amy Bateman Photography

Combining her love of photography and farming has been a winning strategy for Amy Bateman, with diversifications built around the picturesque Cumbrian farm.

Amy’s passion for British farming has been a key driver, giving her a unique perspective for sharing farming’s story with the British public.

After winning the major title of British Life Photographer of the Year, Amy and her husband sat down to create a business plan capitalising on the win, conscious of farming subsidies being reduced.

This started with photography tours on-farm, before installing two luxury glamping pods to offer photography holidays.

Sponsored by NFU Mutual

Diversification of the Year (Large)

David Rawlings

D.A. and S. Rawlings

Leading the team at Priory Farm is David Rawlings, who, through innovation and strategic adaption to market conditions, has successfully diversified into multiple enterprises.

The introduction of a wedding venue, glamping pods and a vodka production business have all added to the core arable farming business and boosted profitability, while supporting its future longevity.

Opening in 2010, the Priory Barn and Cottages have proved a huge success, offering a unique location for weddings and events, comprising a converted barn, a marquee and seven cottages centered around a private courtyard.

Six years later, work began on the production of vodka, borne from the potatoes grown on-farm and distilled on-site. As a potato supplier to some large retailers and restaurants, David was keen to utilise the surplus produce and sought inspiration from his fellow worker Eric, who had moved from Poland to work and live on the farm with his family.

Sponsored by Daisy Vending

Family Farming Business of the Year

The Brown Family

Bluebell Dairy

Bluebell Dairy has grown from milking a small herd of cows in 1953 to a thriving family farm business and a micro-dairy producing award-winning artisan ice-cream.

Geoff, his wife Rosemary and their son, Oliver, and partner, Ella, are tenant farmers and have worked together to grow the business, which hasn’t been without challenges.

To adapt during Covid-19, the family had to think of innovative ways to support the farm while it was closed to the public. For example, a ‘click and collect’ milk delivery service was set up overnight delivering home-produced milk, icecreams and local produce to more than 650 households.

Sponsored by Good Year Farm Tires

Farm Worker of the Year

Holly Atkinson

Carswell Farms

Holly Atkinson started her career in agriculture as a farm vet, despite not coming from a farming background. However, a change in career path has still allowed her to apply her previous skills in her day-to-day work.

Holly is now based on a seven-site organic dairy unit in South Devon, working as part of a large team and helping manage the youngstock with the farm manager and farm owner.

Holly does not only have the welfare of animals in mind, she has also trained as a mental health first aider to promote mental health with her colleagues. But this has not stopped at the farmyard, carrying on her work on social media through her page where she shares her drawings, all while being a mum of two.

Sponsored by Isuzu

Farmers Guardian Farming Hero

Nicholson Family

Canon Hall Farm

The winner of this year’s Farmers Guardian’s Flying the Flag for British Agriculture is the Nicholson family from Cannon Hall Farm. The formidable team welcome more than one million visitors across its multifunctional site comprising a working farm, adventure playgrounds, farm shop and three restaurants.

Their commitment to educating consumers about where their food comes from and the role of British farmers is exemplary with their daily, live broadcasts about looking after animals and connecting people with nature earning them a Point of Light award.

Sponsored by Eternit

Grassland Farmer of the Year

Chris and Bella Mossman

Mossman Farming

Tough times pushed Chris Mossman to transform his farming system starting by improving soil health and diversifying his grassland.

For many years, he farmed profitably, running what he describes as a ‘traditional farming system’, but reoccurring bovine TB outbreaks and other cow health issues led to a change of plan.

Since 2018, the aim has been to find different ways to manage the farm and move away from dependency on chemical fertilisers, purchased feed, wormers and antibiotics, without any grant or support, and remain profitable.

Over time the herd has expanded from 100 cows to 400, which have been specifically bred for grass-based production. They are spring calved in an eight-week block ahead of the grass growth curve to maximise grazed grass, producing a high milk solids output.

Sponsored by Germinal

New Entrants Award: Against the Odds

Alex and Emily Crawley

Grazing Management

The opening characteristics of this year’s finalists quite rightly summarise Alex and the adversity he has faced. Alex is a war veteran who proudly served with the Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

Following his diagnosis with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2017, he took a voluntary placement working with dairy cattle, which he said helped ‘soothe’ his PTSD.

When Alex won a Clyde-Higgs scholarship via the Royal Agricultural University, it was a dream come true. His studies culminated in working numerous jobs including calf rearing, dairy, sheep, beef and harvest work. His drive and determination enabled him to gain experience and learn new skills.

Sponsored by Massey Ferguson

Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture

George Dunn

Kicking off the evening was the Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture, which was awarded to the Tenant Farmers Association Chief Executive George Dunn.

Mr Dunn has worked his way up the ranks to become a much admired and respected leader who represents farmers and growers who do not own the land they operate in England and Wales the association was founded in 1981.

In his role he has lobbied and tirelessly campaigned on the major issues affecting farmers and has been instrumental in advising the Government on how schemes can better support the tenanted sector as farming moves forward in the future.

Mr Dunn is a member of numerous organisations including the Royal Countryside Fund Farm Advisory Group, Farming Community Network, serving as chair of the charity, and the National Trust’s Rural Enterprise Panel.

Sponsored by NSF International

Sheep Farmer of the Year

Robert and Becca Rennie

Rennie Livestock

Robert and Becca Rennie contract farm at Mowhaugh and Attonburn on the Roxburgh Estate running 2,200 hill type North Country Cheviot predominantly for breeding with the aim of maximising the value of every animal leaving the farm.

They sell 700 ewe lambs, 200 draft ewes and 30 two-shear rams every year, along with 1,500 store lambs.

They have recently bought a lowland farm near Kelso which had been tenanted by the Rennie family for more than 90 years where they run 400 Romney ewes lambing outdoors with minimal interference.

Sponsored by SAI Global

Special Recognition Lifetime Achievement

Olive Clarke OBE

Farming’s original female trailblazer Olive Clarke, OBE, has been presented with a bespoke accolade at this year’s British Farming Awards.

The Cumbrian-born stalwart was presented with a Special Recognition: Lifetime Achievement award to honour her dedication and remarkable service to agriculture at the age of 101.

Born on the May 19, 1922, Olive - of Kaker Mill Farm in Preston Patrick, near Milnthorpe, she has held a lifelong commitment to addressing rural issues across Cumbria and beyond.

Growing up at Audlands Farm in Cumbria, Olive was an only child, brought up, she recalls, against the backdrop of a dreadful depression in this country. But aged 11, the pieces of her life began to fall into place when she secured a scholarship to Kendal Girls High School. Fourteen was the usual age to leave school, but she left at 16, and returned home to work on the farm at a time of high unemployment.

Sponsored by Farmers Guardian

Sustainable Farmer of the Year

David Shelton

Shoby Priory Agricultural

Anyone who dismisses David Shelton as yet another wealthy businessman who has bought-up land has not heard his agricultural backstory.

He may be the man who set up, floated and then sold car retail giant Motorpoint, but he is also a fourth generation farmer. After studying agriculture at Harper Adams University, he had every intention of following in his father’s footsteps on the family’s traditional 81-hectare (200-acre) mixed farm in Nottinghamshire.

But, with the farm becoming less viable, David had to look away from the farm which saw him venturing to Saudi Arabia, to set up the franchise for John Deere, with satellite workshops, spares and sales to provide and service the machinery needed to make farming in this part of the world possible.

When the contract with John Deere came to an end, he returned to the UK and moved into property and the car industry. Running alongside was the development of his own farm, keeping Longhorns and acquiring land to total 1,072ha (2,650 acres).

Sponsored by Lloyds Bank