West Midlands NFU members scooped industry accolades at the British Farming Awards with many others narrowly missing out after being shortlisted for the finals.
The awards celebrate the creative thinking, innovation and dedication of Britain’s farmers and the ceremony was held at the Chateau Impney Hotel, at Droitwich, last night (23 Oct).
Stephen Jones, of British Quinoa, in North Shropshire, won thearable innovator of the year award and Staffordshire county farm estate tenant James Beary, of Glen Farm, was the new entrants - ‘against the odds’ winner.
The new entrants’ category was sponsored by the NFU.
Warwickshire members Bill Rushton and Matt Smith, of Manorial Farm, Four Oaks, Solihull,were finalists in themachinery innovator of the year category, while Eccleshall and Stone NFU members Anthony and Ruth Key, of Hollywood Goatmeat, in Staffordshire, made the final shortlist for the farming partnership of the year award.
Stephen Jones, of Redhouse Farm, Hordley, Ellesmere , and his father, Edward, who are Shrewsbury members, produced the first commercial crop of quinoa in the UK.
They subsequently evolved the British Quinoa Company to help market the crop more efficiently and engage consumers.
Stephen said: “It feel absolutely fantastic to have won. Winning this award means for me, confidence my business plan is sound and that my work will pay off and hopefully it will help my business to succeed.”
While James Beary, working with Innovis, was one of the first farmers in the UK to breed the Aberfield/NZ Romney crossbred and he is currently fine tuning his breeding stock.
Work is also under way at the farm to convert cubicle sheds into a contract calf rearing unit for Blade farming.
James, a Mid Staffordshire NFU member, said: “It’s great to have something to show for all the work I’ve put in. New entrants are vital to the industry; it needs fresh talent and young people coming through.”