Cheshire dairy farmer recognised for grassroots commitment to NFU

23 February 2023

Meurig Raymond award winner, Phil Smallwood

A dairy farmer from Cheshire has been honoured at NFU Conference for his dedication and commitment to the NFU and UK farming industry.

This year’s Meurig Raymond Award – named after the NFU’s former President – was last night presented to NFU member Phil Smallwood.

Phil, who farms at Middlewich, is well known for successfully delivering the award-winning Let’s Talk Farming marquee at the Royal Cheshire Show, as well as promoting farming to the public at other events across the county. He also works closely with local schools to organise educational visits and, over the past 30 years, has hosted hundreds of young children and teenagers on his farm.

A third-generation farmer, Phil is also a dedicated supporter of several farming charities, raising funds for both the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Farming Community Network.

He said: “I feel that as a farmer it’s really important to be getting out there and promoting the industry, that’s why I do what I do. You can’t expect other people to be doing it for you

“It started more than 30 years ago when I joined the NFU, and when I got the promotional trailer the idea was to do about half a dozen events every year. Last year we went to 29 events and the diary’s already full for this year.”

NFU Director General Terry Jones said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Phil has won this year’s Meurig Raymond award. The judges had the unenviable task of selecting one person, and from our eight fantastic nominees, Phil really stood out as the worthy overall winner.

“Phil’s one of those unsung farming heroes. When he’s not running his own farming business, he’s more than happy to provide an authentic voice as part of NFU campaigns; engaging with colleagues from across the organisation, with stakeholders, politicians or the media on a range of farming issues.

“Phil’s commitment and positivity in promoting British food and farming throughout his local community, across Cheshire and the North West, makes him a very worthy winner of this year’s award.”

Phil Smallwood, representing NFU North West, was selected from eight nominees drawn from each of the NFU’s seven English regions and NFU Cymru. The other nominees were: Luke Abblitt (East Anglia), Derek Jarman (West Midlands), Geoff Hotchkin (East Midlands), Paula Matthews (South East), Mark Humphrey (South West), Martin Stephenson (North East), Roger Lewis (NFU Cymru).

The Meurig Raymond Award was presented to Phil Smallwood last night (Tuesday 21 February 2023) at the NFU Conference dinner held at the ICC, Birmingham.