The Soil Farmer of the Year competition 2020 has selected five farmers as finalists.
The competition aims to find famers and growers who are engaged with, and passionate about managing their soils in a way which supports productive agriculture, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and builds soil health, organic matter and carbon.
A wide range of farmers applied to the competition, showcasing different farming enterprises, systems and management practices, and five farmers have made it through the preliminary phase of judging to become finalists. This year for the first time the judging will take place online with the finalists submitting videos to the panel showcasing some of the features of the farming system. This will be followed up with an online interview which will allow more understanding of the finalists’ management, system and set up. After this process the final positions will be announced.
Deborah Crossan Soil and Water manager at Innovation for Agriculture comments “IfA are so pleased that the Soil Farmer of the Year has managed to run this year’s competition. In spite of the challenges our Farmers have continued to restore soils and produce our food. Many congratulations to the deserved finalists of 2020.”
The five finalists in this year’s competition are:
Alex Brewster – a grassland farmer from Perthshire
Jake Freestone – a mixed farmer from Gloucestershire
Michael Kavanagh – an arable farmer from Wolverhampton
John Martin – an arable farmer from Dorset
Ian Waller- an arable farmer from Buckinghamshire
All of these finalists will now be judged to decide the final positions which will be announced in July. Due to the challenges faced this year with COVID, the farm walks on the top three farms which are always such a highlight of the competition will hopefully take place in the autumn.
Jonathan Smith, Director at the Farm Carbon Toolkit comments, "Soil Farmer of the Year has become a coveted and well recognised title within the farming sector. In particular, other farmers hold the title in high regard, as the on farm events with the winners every year testify. We are delighted that once again we've received such high quality entries from a range of UK farmers. The only problem for us now will be deciding on a winner!"