The shortlist for the Soil Farmer of the Year 2018 has been announced. The competition which opened on World Soils Day (5th December 2017) has attracted a wide range of entries, from small horticultural operations to large arable estates. All the entries have the common theme of being passionate about their soil management and recognising the crucial importance that soil health has to the running of their farming and growing operations.
The competition which has been run by the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit and Innovation for Agriculture has received a large number of applications that have all been of extremely high quality. This highlights the growing interest in soil health and management to build sustainable and resilient farm businesses that are fit for the future.
Jonathan Smith, one of the FCCT directors explains. “Now in its third year, Soil Farmer of the Year continues to build momentum by showcasing UK farmers and growers that are doing great soil management practices and are passionate about soil health. In keeping with our FCCT ethos, we have seen high quality entries from farmers across the country, different sectors and different approaches, all with the common aim of ensuring excellent soil management is at the heart of their businesses. This year's entries are again of a very high standard and we're looking forward to hearing the judges reports.”
The competition is run jointly between the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit and Innovation for Agriculture, and is kindly sponsored by Cotswold Seeds and NRM. All applications were judged anonymously by an expert panel that includes scientists, farmers, previous Soil Farmer of the Year winners and industry.
The shortlisted applicants are (in alphabetical order):
- Simon Cowell, an arable farmer from Essex
- Simon Drury, a mixed farmer from Dorset
- Angus Gowthorpe, a mixed farmer from Yorkshire
- Martin Howard, a beef famer from Cornwall.
- David Lord, a mixed farmer from Essex
- Will Steel, a mixed farmer from Kent
The shortlisted applicants will be visited by FCCT and Innovation for Agriculture and then the final decision will be made. This decision will be announced at the end of May with the presentation of the awards taking place at farm walks on the top three farms, where other farmers will be able to see and hear more about these farmers award winning soil management.