The shortlist for the Soil Farmer of the Year competition has been announced today.
The competition which FCCT and Innovation for Agriculture, with kind sponsorship by Cotswold Seeds, ran for the second time this year and the standard of entries was extremely high. This year entries have been spread across the country and spanned different enterprises and scales. Despite the range of farming systems, a common thread across all entries was a passion for soil management and a recognition of the crucial importance that soil health has to the running of their farming and growing operations.
A shortlisted applicant explained "Soil health is the focus of everything that I do on the farm now. It is the primary consideration for day to day management decisions."
All received applications have been judged by a panel of judges which included scientists from Rothamstead Research North Wyke, farmers from the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit, last year's Soil Farmer of the Year, our sponsor Cotswold Seeds and staff from Innovation for Agriculture. Applicants were scored on their responses to questions on soil management, analysis and organic matter, biology, as well as attitudes towards soil health.
5 applicants have been shortlisted. These are (in alphabetical order):
- Richard Boldan (Arable)
- George Hosier (Mixed)
- Adam Lewis (Arable)
- Tim Parton (Mixed)
- Richard Suddes (Mixed)
The shortlisted applicants will now be visited by FCCT and then the decision of the top three soil farmers will be made. The decision will be announced in mid June with the presentation of the awards taking place on a farm walk later in the year, which will give other farmers the chance to come and visit the UK Soil Farmer of the Year and the runners up, and dig a little deeper into why they have been awarded the accolade.