The winners of the 2019 British Farming Awards have been revealed at a fabulous award ceremony, held at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham, and supported by Morrisons.
More than 700 farmers and industry professionals attended the event, which showcased the innovation and achievements of British farmers across the agricultural industry.
Organised by AgriBriefing, parent company of Farmers Guardian, Dairy Farmer and Arable Farming, the 15 awards welcomed entries from across farming’s core sectors including beef, arable, machinery, agri-technology, agricultural students and diversification.
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.
“Our customers tell us year in, year out, buying British and supporting British farmers is as important to them as it is to us.
“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.”
Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture
Kicking off the evening – which was hosted by Vernon Kay - was the announcement of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture Award, awarded to John Geldard, Founder of Plumgarths of Kendal to name but a few accolades.
John began his career more than 40 years ago after securing a tenancy with his wife Rachel on a Lake District National Trust tenanted hill farm before progressing to develop a mixed farming business on a Greenfield site near Levens, in Kendal, Cumbria.
The family-owned business employs 25 staff, and features a beef, sheep and a layer enterprise, together with Plumgarths Farm Shop Ltd supplying a multiple with a locally sourced product range and supporting more than 150 retail and food service outlets as well as other regional farming businesses.
An avid networker, both at national and regional level, John has chaired more than 20 industry groups and organisations.
He is currently a director of Farmers Fresh, a lamb processing operation with 2,700 farmer shareholders and £100m turnover, and a director of North West Auctions where he undertook a major role in developing the business on its M6 J36 site.
On receiving his award, John said: “I feel exceptionally honoured to have won this tremendous accolade after having the privilege of been involved in the agricultural industry for some 45 years.
"But without the support of my family behind me, I would not have been in a position to get out and participate in the activities I have and is why I am so grateful for their continued support.
"Awards and evenings like this are fantastic and crucial in recognising the hard work that goes in behind the scenes.
"Agriculture has a bright future and the next generation have a lot to look forward to.”
Farmers Guardian’s Farming Hero
The winner of this year’s Farmers Guardian’s Farming Hero award is Emma Picton-Jones, who established a mental health charity after her husband, tragically took his own life following a tough battle with depression and anxiety.
In the wake of Daniel’s death, Emma launched The DPJ Foundation to support individuals living in rural communities who suffer from poor mental health, especially men in the agricultural sector.
With the agricultural industry carrying one of the highest rates of suicide, the foundation aims to break down the stigma that surrounds mental health and provide support services.
The 31-year-old mother of three has spearheaded the foundation to launch Share the Load - a 24/7 telephone and counselling service for people with mental health problems in rural communities thanks to additional help she has received from volunteers.
She has also raised around £150,000 to provide mental health training to farming industry professionals to help them identify symptoms in people and provide support.
On receiving her award to rapturous applause, Emma said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won this award.
“To be recognised among the farming community feels fantastic. For me, I also feel it is a great opportunity for mental health to be at the forefront of the community’s mind.
“Mental health is one of the leading issues within our sector and I hope that this will help spread the awareness of looking after your mental health and encourage those who are struggling to seek help.”
Gold winner: Aled Thomas, Harper Adams University
Silver winner: Chris Lane, Harper Adams University
Gold winner: Tim Parton, S.S. & S.D. Kirk, Staffordshire
Silver winner: Ryan McCormack, Burden Bros Farms, Kent
Gold winner: John Egerton, Lisnavoe Farm, Co Fermanagh
Silver winner: Ian Norbury, G. & P.M. Norbury, Cheshire
Gold winner: Neil Dallyn, R. & A. Dallyn and Sons, West Sussex
Silver winner: Thomas Robinson, Robinson Agricultural Services, Devon
Gold winner: Paul Griffin, Briddlesford Farm Dairy, Isle of Wight
Silver winner: Ben, Adam and Sam Spence, The Home Farmer, North Yorkshire
Gold winner: Thomas Kitchen-Dunn, Lamb2Ewe, Yorkshire
Silver winner: Andy Venables, Hills Green Farm, Cheshire
Gold winner: Barbara, Sam & Joe Smith, Slapton Manor Farm, Northamptonshire
Silver winner: The Goldie Family, Craighead Country Nursery School, Ayrshire
Gold winner: Charlie Fermor, Perry Court Farm, Kent
Silver winner: Tim Barton, Manor Farm, Wiltshire
Gold winner: The Dustow family, C.S. Dustow & Son, Cornwall
Silver winner: The Ross family, A.E. Ross & Sons, South Yorkshire
Gold winner: Henry Robinson, R.P Worth & Son, Lincolnshire
Silver winner: Claire Moore, Camphill Village Trust, Yorkshire
Gold winner: Gareth Davies and Phil Corke, Bison Lock, Wales
Silver winner: Charles Creyke, Aquagronomy Limited, Yorkshire
Gold winner: William Wells, Hummingbird Technologies, London
Silver winner: Ian Wheal, Breedr, Exeter
Gold winner: Andrew & Aileen Marchant, A. & A. Marchant, Dumfries & Galloway
Silver winner: Andy Smith, T.H. & J.P. Case, Somerset