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Suffolk: Farm competition seeks out cream of the crop

06:00 10 May 2014

Winners and sponsors of the Suffolk Farm Business Competition 2013

Winners and sponsors of the Suffolk Farm Business Competition 2013

© 2013 Stephen Waller

A prestigious farm competition pitting top farms of all sizes is launched this week.

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Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) is seeking entries across three categories for its farm business competition, the biggest farms contest in the county.

All of its sponsors from last year have agreed to contribute once again to the initiative.

Bunn Fertiliser Ltd, supported by Koch Advanced Nitrogen, are the overall sponsors for the third year running, and the three entry categories are: Class 1 (up to 200 hectares), Class 2 (200-399 hectares) and Class 3 farms (over 400 hectares) sponsored by Baker Tilly, Hutchinsons and Larking Gowen respectively.

The competition is open to farm contractors which means an owner can enter his farm which is run by a contractor for day-to-day operations. Contractors can enter their total business, comprising owned or hired land and any subsequent contract farming operations.

Farms are judged from first to third place in each category and winners receive a trophy.

Special awards are given for Best Crop, sponsored by Koch Advanced Nitrogen, Livestock Enterprise, supported by AtlasFram and Best Conservation supported by TNS, Thurlow Nunn Standen. The closing date for entries is June 6.

Judges will assess the whole business and management of the farms, including enterprise management, marketing, employment and investment strategy. They also consider business sustainability of land occupation including product development, diversification and long-term development as well as the farm’s social and community involvement including local education, public land use or employment activities.

SAA executive director Christopher Bushby said: “Last year’s competition was very well supported, and we hope to attract the same level and quality of entries again this year for this popular competition. The agricultural awards evening gave a chance to learn, from hearing about farming practices across the region.”

Entry is now open for all categories and judging will take place on June 16 and 17 by Hampshire farmers in a reciprocal arrangement.

The winners will be announced at the annual awards dinner, together with the Best Alternative Land Enterprise (BALE) awards, at Trinity Park, Ipswich, on October 23.

Award winner David Barker, of E.J.Barker and Sons in Westhorpe, near Stowmarket, said: “The award was terrific. Going to the presentation evening not knowing the result gave extra excitement to the occasion. The only other time we won the large farms competition was in 1980, now another generation has helped achieve the same award. This is the first time the winning farm has also won the Conservation Certificate which goes to show that you can grow the best crops alongside a farm rich in wildlife.

“The boys (Brian and Patrick) will have to decide if we enter this year, yes we would encourage other farms to enter it is fun gives you a chance to take pride in your farms.”

Full details and entry forms can be downloaded at www.suffolkshow/awards or call Sue Bennitt at the SAA office on 01473 707112 or email: sue.bennitt@suffolkshow.co.uk.

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