Suffolk FWAG awards event celebrates cream of farming conservation crop

Jeanette Dennis, winners of the Farm Conservation Cup: Christopher Wilson, Diane Ling and Charlie Ha

Jeanette Dennis, winners of the Farm Conservation Cup: Christopher Wilson, Diane Ling and Charlie Hancock of Frederick Hiams Ltd and judges Richard Barnes and AJ Paul. - Credit: Archant

Conservation-minded farmers from Stowmarket and from Bury St Edmunds took top honours at an awards event on Wednesday.

Winners of the Tim Sloane Award; David and Patrick Barker of E.J Barker & Sons with judges Genevieve

Winners of the Tim Sloane Award; David and Patrick Barker of E.J Barker & Sons with judges Genevieve Broad and Richard Symes. - Credit: Archant

The event, hosted by Suffolk Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (Suffolk FWAG) and sponsored by Ashton KCJ Solicitors, brought together nearly 80 farmers and farming professionals to celebrate the cream of this year’s conservation farming crop with two special awards.

E.J. Barker and Sons of Lodge Farm in Westhorpe near Stowmarket scooped the Tim Sloane Award, while the hotly contested Farm Conservation Award was clinched by Frederick Hiams Ltd, a farming and vegetable growing and packing business based at Hill Farm in Tuddenham near Bury St Edmunds.

Guest speaker was wildlife campaigner Robin Page, who writes for a national newspaper and used to present BBC’s One Man and his Dog. He gave an enthralling talk about his life, love of the countryside and his work in encouraging British shops and supermarkets to stock British food.

Suffolk FWAG, established four decades ago, helps farmers by providing independent environmental advice and guidance to the local farming community. The organisation strives to help farmers to understand the environmental value of their land and make the most of the agri-environment options available.


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Ashton KCJ Agricultural Partner Jeanette Dennis, a trustee of Suffolk FWAG, said: “It takes a lot of courage for the farming community to put themselves forward for an award. This award celebrates the huge amount of farm work that farms and estates do to preserve our countryside for generations to come. There are so many great initiatives taking place on farms to preserve nature and encourage wildlife and natural vegetation - we want farmers and landowners to share their experiences. This is what the Suffolk FWAG awards are all about.”

Judges of the Tim Sloane Award were Genevieve Broad of Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership and Richard Symes of Earlsway Farm in Bramfield.

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Richard Barnes of Frontier/Kings Seeds and AJ Paul of the Broxstead Estate in Sutton, Woodbridge, who judged the Farm Conservation Award, were bowled over by Frederick Hyams operations director Charlie Hancock and his philosophy of ‘treating everything as a crop’.

The runner up for the Farm Conservation Award was Bevills Farm at Bures, owned by the Probert family, where preserving and enhancing wildlife features for generations “has become second nature”, according to the judges.

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