Regional award for Essex farmer

23 February 2024

Environment and climate
Andrew St Joseph with Director General Terry Jones (left) and NFU East Regional Director Zoe Leach

Andrew St Joseph with Director General Terry Jones (left) and NFU East Regional Director Zoe Leach

An Essex farmer who has spearheaded efforts to protect farmland from flooding has been recognised for his commitment and dedication.

Andrew St Joseph is the East regional winner in this year’s NFU Meurig Raymond Awards.

The awards, named after the former NFU president, are presented annually at the NFU Conference in Birmingham, and recognise grassroots members who go ‘above and beyond’ in their contribution to the NFU and the local farming industry.

Retiring County Adviser Adam Scott, who nominated Mr St Joseph, said: “Few if any people have spent as long as Andrew on the remote and exposed sea walls around the East coast. His own farm is not huge but his energy and enthusiasm are.”

Mr St Joseph, who farms at Tollesbury on the Blackwater Estuary, is known as a passionate champion of all things to do with sea walls, and not just in Essex.

NFU24 Awards

His tireless work to help farmers and landowners has ensured that Government and responsible bodies, in particular the Environment Agency (EA), have been persuaded to adopt a ‘stitch in time’ quick fix approach that both maintains environmental standards and costs less.

With others, Mr St Joseph has established the Essex Coast Organisation and as chair has established a tremendous reputation as a source of practical insight and has pioneered a series of DIY ‘permission light’ solutions that make community involvement possible.

He has worked closely with the NFU regional team to build stronger relationships with the EA and this has allowed development of an EA-funded small works programme for farmer-led repairs.

A range of appropriate repair techniques have been developed and agreed to ensure they have no adverse impact on the environment, meet appropriate quality control standards and to help increase the life of the defences to help protect land at risk from flooding.

The national Meurig Raymond Award winner was mid-Wales poultry producer Sharon Hammond. She received the award in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the NFU and Welsh farming industry.

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