For the second year running, AgriBank is one of the main sponsors of the Farmers’ Weekly Awards, the most important night in the UK farming calendar, when farmers in fifteen categories spanning the full breadth of theUK farming industry are recognised for their excellence at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
AgriBank is sponsoring the award for diversification, which looks at farmerswho have pursued new on-farm businesses to give a wide range of benefits to the farmers and their community and these have included improving succession planning, creating jobs for the local community or promoting farming to a wider audience. All the businesses expanded from an authentic farming core to secure a sustainable future for their families.
The three finalists are:
David and Diana Harper, who run a 320ha holding in Worcestershire and who have developed a farm shop and farm park, business lets, activity centre, pool and river fishing, caravan club site as well as running their 320ha mixed farm with 50-cow suckler herd and hand-harvested vegetables.
David and Helen Harrison of Co. Down, Ireland who used to keep dairy cows, pigs and sheep, and then after two government-backed training courses, research trips to several diversifications in Yorkshire and a rural development grant, decided to open a farm shop and restaurant in March 2012 – Harrisons of Greyabbey, which enjoys breathtaking views across Strangford Lough and which last year had over 100,000 visitors to its restaurant, farm shop and nursery.
And lastly, David Horler, owner of Tractorland in Somerset a 200ha mixed organic farm with 50-cow suckler herd where he started the “Tractor Ted”brand of educational books, DVDs, gifts and clothing for ages two to six which is now stocked in 600 country shops in the UK and Ireland used in play farms in Wiltshire and Perthshire attracting 250,000 visitors per year, and featured atan annual farm show. The Tractor Ted products are designed to entertain and teach children and the business has gathered endorsements from celebrities such as Ben Fogle and Clare Balding. This year turnover from diversification reached £1million.
Handing out the Award on the night will be AgriBank co-founder Frank Sekula, and we will be posting photographs of the event and the awards ceremony on this site after it has taken place on the evening of the 2nd October 2014.