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Soil Farmer of the Year competition launches today

5th Dec 2017

Sharing best practice and innovation through championing farmers who are improving their soils

The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit and Innovation for Agriculture’s competition to find the UK’s Soil Farmer of 2018 is open for applications.

Following its success over the last two years, the competition is open again this year. It aims to find farmers and growers who are engaged with and passionate about managing their soils in a way which supports productive agriculture, biodiversity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and builds soil organic matter. 

Sustainable soil management is one of the cornerstones of profitable farm businesses, a thriving and diverse natural environment, and a transformation to a low carbon economy.  Soil health is of critical importance to everyone and this competition champions farmers who understand the importance of soil, and are changing their management to protect and improve it.

The competition has attracted top quality farmers to apply, both large and small, conventional and organic, who were involved in a variety of enterprises on-farm.  The competition has seen previous winners including Clive Bailye in 2016, and joint winners of Richard Suddes and Tim Parton in 2017.

 “The success of the first Soil Farmer of the Year competition exceeded our expectations”, explains FCCT director Jonathan Smith. “It was inspiring to read so many farmers and growers tell us what positive things they were doing for their soils. Judging it really was a difficult process, due to the high quality of entries. We're hoping even more farmers and growers will want to compete for this prestigious prize this year. For FCCT it firmly places us as a champion of good soil management on farms, and demonstrating the potential farmland has to sequester carbon.”

The competition is open to any UK farmer or grower who are managing their soils in a way which optimises soil health and quality.

Applications are being taken online through this link,

where there is more information and an opportunity to read the write ups from the last two years. The competition is being generously sponsored again by Cotswold Seeds, and the top three entries will all receive prizes of fertility building or green manure seed.

FCCT is delighted that this project is in partnership with 4 per 1000 Initiative, the international collaboration aiming to demonstrate that agriculture, and in particular agricultural soils can play a crucial role where food security and climate change are concerned. As the first project in the UK to be officially partnered by 4 per 1000, we firmly support the aims of the Initiative, and in particular recognise the enormous potential of farm soils to sequester carbon whilst providing multiple co-benefits to farmers and society.

Previous applicants are invited to apply again, and as a first this year, farmers are able to nominate others who they think are excelling in prioritising soil health in their business.

The competition opens on World Soils Day on the 5th December, and will close on the 5thof March 2018. Shortlisted applicants will be visited by the judging panel and the results will be published at the end of April. The top three applicants will also be hosting farm walks during 2018.