Farmers Weekly Awards 2008: Winners Announced

The winners of this year’s Farmers Weekly Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony in London, where more than 1,100 people from the farming industry and a number of celebrity guests gathered together to applaud the very best in British farming.

The top award – Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year – went to the winner of Young Farmer of the Year, Adrian Ivory, a beef and arable farmer from Perthshire.

Adrian is an inspiration for all farmers. He has a simple business approach that balances the demands of farm and family very well. He sets himself tough targets and he is completely focussed on achieving them.“  Jane King, Editor, Farmers Weekly

The other awards were:

Contractor of the Year
Sponsored by Michelin Exelagri
R & C Targett

Countryside Farmer of the Year
Sponsored by Environment Agency
Ian Waller

Dairy farmer of the Year
Sponsored by DairyCo
Charles Whittingham

Diversification Farmer of the Year
Sponsored by James Miles-Hobbs
Mercer Farming

Farm Manager of the Year
Sponsored by Claas
Matt Solley

Livestock Adviser of the Year
Sponsored by Silotite
Mark Hawe

Local Food Farmer of the Year
Sponsored by
Douglas Wanstall

Pig Farmer of the Year
Sponsored by Waitrose
Andrew Freemantle

Poultry Farmer of the Year
Sponsored by EB Equipment
David and Helen Brass

Sheep Farmer of the Year
Sponsored by Footvax
Crosby Cleland

The Farming Champion, sponsored by the NFU, went to Jimmy Doherty.

Jimmy Doherty is the Farmers Weekly and NFU Farming Champion. He has transformed the way the public think about farming through his TV series Farming Heroes, which reached out to more than 12m viewers over six episodes.“  Peter Kendall, NFU president

Posted under Awards, Rural businesses

This post was written by Lucy on October 28, 2008

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Rural Britain: a vision for 2020

What do you think rural Britain will be like in 2020?  How would you like to see it change?  What should we be preserving?

Simon Berry, Chief Executive of ruralnet|uk, has set up a website for people to voice their opinions on the matter with a view to creating a collective vision for the future of rural Britain.  Rural Britain: a 2020 Vision was launched at the recent ruralnet|uk and Action for Market Towns event ‘Future Choices – Live & Local’ and has already received hundreds of contributions.

In this video, Simon explains a little more about the idea and what makes a collective vision important:

Rural Britain – a 2020 vision from ruralnetuk on Vimeo.

Visions and aspirations added so far include:

  • Greater opportunities for young people to improve their basic life skills, education and employment opportunities
  • Free wireless internet connectivity everywhere
  • Greater local autonomy and responsibility for providing local services

To have your say, visit the Rural Britain: a 2020 vision website, where you can take a look at the contributions made so far, comment on them and make your own contibution to this collective vision.

Posted under Countryside Organisations

This post was written by Lucy on October 28, 2008

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Good Firewood

As the weather starts to turn really chilly, I keep thinking about lighting a fire…but what makes the best firewood?  A little investigation brought up this rather sweet poem:

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year
Chestnut only good they say
If for long it’s laid away
Make a fire of elder tree
Death within your house will be
But ash new or ash old
Is fit for a Queen with a crown of gold
Birch and Fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
Elmwood burns like churchyard mould
Even the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a Queen with a golden crown
Poplar gives a bitter smoke
Fills your eyes and makes you choke
Apple wood will scent your room
With an incense-like perfume
Oaken logs, if dry and old
Keep away the winters cold
But ash wet or ash dry
A king shall warm his slippers by

Author Unknown

In fact, ash is widely considerd to be one of the best burning woods.  It has a steady flame, a good heat output and lasts reasonably well.  As the poem suggests, even ‘unseasoned’ (green) ash gives a good fire. If you’re chopping it yourself, you will also find it is easy to saw and split.

For more chat about Wood Energy, visit the It’s Not Easy Being Green forum.

Posted under Random Facts

This post was written by Lucy on October 22, 2008

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Good Pheasant Recipe

To mark the beginning of the UK pheasant shooting season, I wanted to share a delicious pheasant recipe given to me by game chef Mark Gilchrist of Game for Everything.  When doing a tour of Great Britain last year, visiting interesting rural entrepreneurs, Emma and I were lucky enough to have Mark cook this for us at Game for Everything HQ in Kent.

It was so delicious that, after taking up shooting last season, I decided to put it to good use on my first ever phesant – yummy!

My first pheasant

My first pheasant

Mark’s Tarragon Pheasant

(Serves 4 – giving a leg and a breast each)

Mark cooking up a storm

Mark cooking up a storm

500g celery (leaves and all), washed

500g carrots, unpeeled

500g onions, chopped and peeled

6 cloves of garlic, chopped and peeled

2 pheasants, quarters

6 large baking potatoes (skins scored around the middle)

1 pint single cream


Fresh tarragon

½ bottle of white wine (33cl)

Goose fat or olive oil


  1. Heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Chop all the vegetables and place then in a baking tin.
  3. Place the pheasant on top and pour over the wine.
  4. Cover with tin foil and cook for one hour until the pheasant is soft. At the same time, bake the potatoes in a separate dish.
  5. When cooked, crisp up the skin of the pheasant in a frying pan using goose fat or olive oil.
  6. Whizz the cooked vegetables in a blender, adding the cream, tarragon, salt and black pepper to make a sauce.
  7. Spoon out the insides of the baked potatoes and heat quickly in a frying pan with cream, butter and salt and pepper. This makes the best mashed potato you’ll ever taste.
  8. Dollop a bit of the mashed potato on each plate, place the pheasant wing and breast on top and pour some of the sauce around the potato. Season to taste and add a sprig of tarragon on the top to make it look pretty.
Et voila!

Et voila!

For other good pheasant recipes, try the Game’s On pages on the BASC website.

Posted under BASC, Food, Game, Pheasant, Recipes, Shooting, Shooting seasons

This post was written by Lucy on October 1, 2008

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October: What’s Good to Eat?

Food to feast on this month:


artichoke | beetroot | broccoli | butternut squash | carrots | celeriac | celery | fennel | kale | kohlrabi | leeks | marrow | onions | parsnips | potatoes (maincrop) | pumpkin | swede | turnips | watercress | wild mushrooms


apples | chestnuts | elderberries | figs | grapes | pears | quince | tomatoes | walnuts


duck | goose | grouse | guinea fowl | hare | partridge | rabbit | venison | wood pigeon


brill | clams | crab | grey mullet | haddock | halibut | hake | john dory | lemon sole | lobster | mackerel | monkfish | mussels | oysters | plaice | scallops | sea bass | squid | turbot

For more information and recipe ideas, visit Eat The Seasons.

There are several good reasons why we should eat food that’s grown locally and is in season:

  1. it tastes nicer
  2. it’s often cheaper
  3. it’s a way of supporting your local economy
  4. it goes some way to reduce the amount of energy needed to grow and transport your food (and help reduce your carbon footprint)

Posted under Food, Seasons

This post was written by Lucy on October 1, 2008

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