Suffolk: New format boosts entries to SAA Farm Business Competition

A CHANGE in format to a prestigious Suffolk farming competition has sparked impressive early entries from rural businesses around the county.

The Suffolk Farm Business Competition, which is run in partnership between the Suffolk Agricultural Association and J & H Bunn Ltd, opened for entries on Monday, May 21.

For the first time, this year’s competition will involve a celebratory awards dinner, at which the winners will be announced alongside the winners of the 2012 BALE Award, the association’s competition for farm diversification businesses.

The changed format has encouraged impressive early support from entrants, with only a few weeks now remaining before the closing date and commencement of judging.

This year’s revisions have also led to confident sponsorship support from major corporate brands within the region.

Alan Gray from J & H Bunn said: “J & H Bunn has been a long-term supporter of the Suffolk Agricultural Association and that this partnership gives Bunns an ideal opportunity to celebrate the achievements of some of the best farms in the area. We are very much looking forward to the awards dinner in October and having the opportunity to honour the winners.”

David Nunn, director of the Suffolk Show and part of the a committee which reviewed the farm business competition, is delighted with the response to the new format.

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He said: “This competition really is a terrific opportunity to highlight the role our Suffolk farmers play in the economy and their accomplishments at the cutting edge of agriculture in the UK.

“By introducing a new format, which now includes a superb Rural Awards Dinner scheduled for October, we have the opportunity to applaud their achievements better than ever.”

The Farm Business Competition is split into the three categories – small farms for those up to 250 hectares; medium (sponsored by Larking Gowen) for 251-499 hectares, and large for over 500 hectares (Sponsored by Baker Tilly).

Each category is judged with a first to third placing and there are special awards within each for Best Livestock Enterprise (sponsored by AtlasFram), Best Conservation (also sponsored by AtlasFram) and Best Crop (supported by Koch Advanced Nitrogen).

Mr Nunn added: “Our review process also included some changes to the criteria, and very close discussions with our generous sponsors of the competition, to ensure that it is absolutely as relevant as it can be to today’s Suffolk farmers.

“As an association we are proud of the part we play in congratulating the agricultural businesses within the county, and we know that our revisions to the competition will make for an even better programme and will rightly honour those who stand out for the management of their business and for their farm’s sustainability and community input.”

Entry for the competition is �20 and all entrants will receive an invitation for two to the awards dinner in October. Entrants must be a member of the Suffolk Agricultural Association. Entries close on June 8.