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Welsh finalists named in Farmers Weekly Awards 2024 shortlist

WINNERS in all 19 categories will be announced at a live ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on Thursday 3rd October 2024

The 2024 Farmers Weekly Awards finalists have been chosen from 15 categories. Read on to find out more about the 44 innovative farmers, entrepreneurial contractors, expert consultants and hard-working students that made our shortlist.

The judging starts now, and the category winners – as well as the overall winner of the coveted Farmer of the Year Award – will be named at the Awards ceremony. This year, it will be a special celebration to mark the 20th year anniversary of the flagship Farmers Weekly Awards and the 90th Anniversary of Farmers Weekly itself, which first published in 1934. The Awards evening is set to be a spectacular night and we look forward to seeing you there. 

Click here to book either an individual seat or a table and join in on the celebrations.

Ag Student of the Year 

  1. Caryl Davies, Aberystwyth University, Cardiganshire

Caryl demonstrates a strong academic ability and a wide range of practical experience. Alongside her studies, she juggles many extracurricular commitments.

  1. Logan Williams, Aberystwyth University, Cardiganshire

Logan’s academic marks are impressive on their own, but even more so given he regularly makes a 100-mile round trip to work, driven by big ambitions for his family farm.

  1. Tom York, Harper Adams University, Monmouthshire

Tom’s determination to succeed earned him a scholarship for his placement year. He is also dedicated to raising awareness around mental health in agriculture.

Arable Adviser of the Year

  1. Ben Abell, Dyson Farming Ltd, Lincolnshire

Ben manages an in-house team that covers agronomy management, technical advice and crop production across 14,000ha.

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  1. Stuart McDowall, Agrii, Lincolnshire

Stuart has 26 clients across north Lincolnshire and advises 15 additional customers over the phone. 

  1. Richard Tresidder, Agrovista UK Ltd, Cornwall

Richard provides a full agronomy service, from seed selection and soil testing to stewardship and audit compliance.

Arable Farmer of the Year

7. Rick Davies, Newton Lodge Farms, Buckinghamshire

Managing 441ha, Rick grows milling wheat, malting spring barley and spring beans for premium markets. A move to a Claydon system with a focus on soil health has seen him chopping straw and making his own compost. 

8. Mark Means, King’s Lynn, Norfolk

Mark manages the 840ha family business growing winter wheat, vining peas, potatoes and sugar beet. By nurturing soil, she has seen organic matters rise, and last year’s beet crop achieved 124t/ha.

9. David Passmore, Mays Farm, Oxfordshire

David runs the 300ha family business, which specialises in seed crops including wheat and oilseed rape. While yields have stagnated nationally, he has seen an improvement of 120kg/ha for 40 years. 

Beef Farmer of the Year

10. Joe Howard, Hodstock Lodge Farm, Nottinghamshire

Improving growth rates and average age at slaughter have seen Joe more than double the margin a head in his outdoor forage-based dairy-beef system in just 12 months

11. Dylan Jones, Castellior, Anglesey

A business model of producing all cattle nutrition on-farm with crops high in protein and starch enables Dylan to run a profitable 1,600-head finishing system while achieving his environmental goals.

12. Dan and Catherine Mercer, Westhill Farm, Wiltshire

By breeding sucklers to native sires, establishing a finishing unit and adopting regenerative farming practices, Dan and Catherine have developed a sustainable enterprise that can accommodate generational succession. 

Contractor of the Year

13. JSE Systems, Wood Lodge, Lincolnshire

Spreading specialist JSE operates across eastern England from the Humber to the Thames, applying soil nutrient products for some 400 arable customers.

14. ND Harper, Cranage, Cheshire

Efficiency is key for Nigel Harper’s diverse contracting business, which offers the full suite of services to 75 predominantly dairy farming customers in Cheshire.

15. TW West, Whin Bank, Cumbria

Tim West serves 140 customers and runs some of the latest technology, the cost of which is carefully calculated to ensure it can pay its way. 

Dairy Farmer of the Year

16. Rheinallt and Rachel Harries, Llwynmendy Uchaf, Carmarthenshire

New-entrant tenants Rheinallt and Rachel have built up a profitable 200-cow spring block-calving herd averaging 6,400 litres. They are now moving into land ownership and helping others up the farming ladder.

17. Mike and Chris King, Two Pools Farm, Gloucestershire

Mike and Chris milk 810 cows producing 13,688kg on a three-times-a-day regime. They are adding a 400-cow farm with the same focus on high welfare and profit.

18. Simon and John Martin, Nunton Farm, Wiltshire

Growing a split-block herd to 800 crossbred cows averaging 6,000 litres in a low-cost system is the challenge for Simon and John, who want an enjoyable, sustainable dairy business. 

Diversification Farmer of the Year

19. Richard Nicholson, Cannon Hall Farm, South Yorkshire

Richard and his team run a mixed livestock farm with a large-scale farm attraction, farm shop and restaurant that collectively attract about one million visitors a year.

20. The Mellor family, Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, North Yorkshire

The Mellors farm 600ha of combinable crops and grassland in Yorkshire and have diversified into a brewery and whisky distillery using barley grown on farm.

21. Annabel Makin-Jones, Sturton Grange, West Yorkshire

Fifth-generation farmer Annabel grows strawberries for retailers, and produces chutneys, conserves and non-alcoholic drinks under the farm’s own brand.

Farm Manager of the Year

22. Simon Andrews, Porchester Farms, Berkshire

Simon has altered sheep breeding and switched to mainly outdoor lambing. Moving away from heavy cultivations, he has widened the cropping range to ensure premiums, alongside managing successful diversifications.

23. Breiffni Daly, Sansaw Estate, Shropshire

Breiffni has overseen an increase in cow numbers from 1,200 to 1,500 and raised technical and financial performance, achieved partly by enhancing the management of a large team. 

Grassland Manager of the Year

24. Andrew and Marisa Baird and Kirstie Morrison, Auchnotroch Farm, Lanarkshire

The Bairds run a 200-head autumn-calving cross-bred herd, achieving a high stocking rate on an exposed farm.

25. James Tweedie, South Dyke Farm, Cumbria

James spring-calves 400 cows in seven weeks on a system that grazes for at least 280 days a year. A reputation for breeding stock helps sell 60 bulls a year.

26. Ben Walker, Hall Farm, Norfolk

A new unit is allowing Ben to expand from 180 to 300 cows. The cross-bred autumn-calving herd uses Norwegian Red genetics. A milk vending machine adds value. 

Livestock Adviser of the Year 

27. Tim Bebbington, Castle Veterinary Group, PL15 7ED

Tim is part of an 11-strong independent vet team. Aside from the usual farm work, he is involved with research on controlling worms and ticks and training the next generation of vets.

28. Jonathan Crimes, Cara Wales, SA48 7RJ

Jonathan is an independent beef, sheep and dairy consultant advising on livestock nutrition and grassland management as well as business plans and cashflows.

29. David Howard, Wynnstay Group, SY22 6AQ

David gives dairy farmer clients advice on nutrition, herd health, forage and cropping, milk production and building design. 

Mixed Farmer of the Year

30. Jack Bosworth, Spains Hall, Essex

Since returning to the family pig and arable farm in 2017, Jack has doubled the herd to 300 sows and cut labour costs by more than £80 a head.

31. Andrew, Tracey and Robert Speed, Briddicott Farm, Somerset

The Speeds run a beef, sheep and arable farm with 195 Hereford sucklers and 1,400 ewes which they uniquely lamb three times in two years.

32. Nick and Lucy Tyler, Kingsplay Farming, Wiltshire

Nick and Lucy run a 500-cow dairy unit, and 300 Wagyu-cross beef cattle. About 40% of the farm’s combinable cropping area is designated for animal feed, keeping dairy concentrate costs below 10p/litre. 

Pig Farmer of the Year

33. William de Feyter, Dyballs Farm, Norfolk

Herd health is a priority for William, who manages 4,800 pigs across three straw-based units, contract-rearing for BQP.

34. Paul Howland, Shingle Hall, Suffolk

Paul runs a 1,500-pig unit that has won numerous awards over the past 10 years. He is also a huge advocate for talking about mental health in farming.

35. James Ross, BQP, Lincolnshire

First-generation farmer James manages 1,750 outdoor sows. He has a passion for training the next generation and was the 2023 NPA Farm Manager of the Year. 

Poultry Farmer of the Year

36. The Lakes Free Range Egg Co, Cumbria

Owned by David and Helen Brass, The Lakes Free Range Egg Co both produces and packs eggs, with more than 130,000 of its own birds. The firm is dedicated to environment-friendly food production.

37. Chris Wright, IEC Poultry, Shropshire

Managing four broiler sheds, and acting as a consultant for two other farms, Chris is focused on increasing performance and profitability with a view to expansion.

38. Ryan Wright, Beech Farm, Lincolnshire

With 264,000 birds to manage for Moy Park, Ryan is looking to develop new methods of broiler production, trialling new technology and achieving net zero while giving birds more space.

Sheep Farmer of the Year

39. Annie Carr, The Brays, Worcestershire

Annie lambs 420 ewes indoors in March, selling deadweight from a flying flock on let ground. The fledgling business started in 2020 after she left the home farm due to succession issues.

40. Rachel Murdoch, Fridlington Farms, Yorkshire

Rachel manages 2,100 Highlander-cross ewes in a self-replacing system. A strict culling policy ensures good health and fertility in the ewes, which lamb outdoors and are outwintered on forage crops.

41. Samantha and Oliver Shuttleworth, Shaw Paddock, Cumbria

Tenant farmers Samantha and Oliver run 1,000 hefted ewes and 40 suckler cows. The business is 16 years old and makes a profit without subsidies. 

Young Farmer of the Year

42. Archie Evans, Keymer Brook Farm, Sussex

Archie, 24, has developed Berries On Tap, a vending machine that delivers fresh fruit from the family’s 10-acre farm, and is experimenting with growing gourmet mushrooms on old strawberry substrate.

43. Eleanor Lewis, Tack Farm, Herefordshire

With a vision to put the family farm at the forefront of modern dairy practices, chartered accountant Eleanor, 28, has a focus on cost control and consistency.

44. Tom Stinton, Cools Farm, WiltshireNew entrant Tom, 24, runs Cools Farm under a share-farming agreement, selling organic and regenerative beef and lamb direct from the farm.