The Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards have long celebrated the county’s best producers, chefs, eateries, pubs and cafes, but this year the spotlight is also being shone on those at the coalface of the sector – the farmers themselves!
The introduction of the ‘Farming Innovation Award’, which will recognise those arable and livestock farmers who have introduced modern techniques to become more environmentally friendly or to raise standards in animal welfare and food production, has been made possible thanks to the support of new Awards sponsor, the Weetabix Growers Group – made up of environmentally aware farmers within a 50 mile radius of the company’s Burton Latimer mills who grow and harvest wheat for the cereal-maker – and is backed by the NFU (National Farmers’ Union).
Its aim is to celebrate those primary producers who play such a vital, yet often hidden role in the sector, as Awards Director Rachel Mallows explains: “Food and drink is such a prestigious industry in the county, and while the Awards already celebrate those in manufacturing and hospitality, it’s only right that we should offer due recognition to those innovative farmers who are bringing added value to the food chain.
“Indeed it’s a little known fact that farmers farm 77 per cent of the land area of the county so we hope that this new category will celebrate those whose innovative methods are helping to put Northamptonshire firmly on the agricultural map – where it truly deserves to be!” she added.
The Farming Innovation Award – which is free to enter – invites entries from arable, livestock and mixed farmers who are demonstrating a forward-thinking approach to their profession, for example the introduction of ‘no-till’, which has been shown to reduce man hours and fuel usage while improving soil health, or the use of electronic devices to monitor animal behaviour and provide early detection of disease to improve the management of livestock production to the benefit of the farmer, animal and consumer.
A panel of experts will then select a shortlist of finalists and each will receive support from a mentoring board to help their business to flourish, the opportunity to raise their profile (both locally and nationally), affirmation of their modern approach as well as two free tickets to the Awards Dinner in November at which the winner and runner-up in the category (and indeed for all the categories in this year’s competition) will be announced.
To download a ‘Register of Interest’ form for the Farming Innovation Award, or indeed for more details on the category, please visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The closing date is Monday 13th June.
You can also follow the Awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards