East Anglia: SAA Suffolk Agricultural Awards celebrate excellence and enterprise

From left, Terry Hunt (editor of EADT & Ipswich Star), Robert Rous (chairman of the SAA), Richard Co

From left, Terry Hunt (editor of EADT & Ipswich Star), Robert Rous (chairman of the SAA), Richard Cook from HSBC (sponsors of the awards), Peter Over (SAA) and Suffolk Show director Bill Baker at the Suffolk Agricultural Awards at Trinity Park, Ipswich. Photo: Stephen Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

A fruit and flower farm which blossomed into a nursery school, retail outlet, fencing company and contract hire swimming pool was among the main winners at a regional awards event celebrating East Anglia’s top farm businesses and diversification projects last night.

EE Ulph & Co of Whites Farm, Colchester, run by Angus and Sally Scobie, was established by Angus’s grandfather in 1937 as an apple and pear farm with four acres of peonies.

It beat off stiff competition from 10 other farm diversifications to scoop the Best Alternative Land Enterprise (BALE) award after branching out into a range of diversifications, including a woven willow fencing company.

The winners were announced at the Suffolk Agricultural Association’s Agricultural Awards dinner supported by HSBC, at Trinity Park, Ipswich, which was attended by around 300 guests.

Winners of the Suffolk Farm Business Competition, which is open to members of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, were also announced in its three size categories.

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The winners in Class One, for farms up to 250 hectares, were last year’s victors, Jason and Katharine Salisbury of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, Creeting St Mary, who were presented with the F W Barker Perpetual Challenge Cup and Tankard by Bruce Masson from Baker Tilly.

The winner of Class Two, for farms from 251 to 500 hectares, was Porters Farms (Walpole) Ltd of Hill House Farm, Walpole which received the Cranworth Perpetual Challenge Cup and tankard from class sponsor Chris Seppings of Hutchinsons.

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Class Three, for farms of more than 501 hectares, was won John Brown and Sons, with the trophy, the King George VI Memorial Challenge Cup, being presented by Ian Webster from sponsors Larking Gowen.

The BALE award was presented by sponsor and judge Jonathan Long, partner and head of agriculture and estates at law firm Ashton KCJ. Also among the panel of judges were the association’s president, Clare, Countess of Euston, and Katharine Salisbury of Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses, which was also last year’s BALE winner.

“We were all bowled over by the high standards of all the entries and the diversity of different projects, but Whites Farm stood out,” said Mrs Salisbury.

For the first time in the award’s history, the impressive standard of entries meant there were joint runners up - Robert and Sally Bendall for Hollow Trees Farm, and its year- round programme of entertainment and education, and Nathan Nobbs for Potsford Care Farm.

: : For more on the awards, including photos from the ceremony, see tomorrow’s farming pages in the EADT’s County Life section.

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