Environment is high on the agenda and this category is designed to reward those making a difference, whether that is through creating new woodlands and hedgerows, farming alongside nature, safeguarding wildlife or providing improved access for leisure use by walkers, cyclists or horse riders. We are looking for someone who has shown vision and drive and improve the environment for those around them and future generations, creating safe havens for wildlife, better access for more people to enjoy the countryside and helping the planet’s sustainability.
Many rural businesses have upped the game when it comes to diversity, from those producing their own energy to run their operations to those using their land in different ways, such as securely fenced areas for dog exercising or agri tourism. This award recognises those who have innovated and created a new revenue stream or self sufficiency for their business, while still maintaining their core business. We will be looking for the whole story of how the idea was conceived and then put into action along with future plans and how it will strengthen the business long term.
Rural Innovation of the Year
This award recognises rural innovators who have risen to the challenges of 2020 and 2021 through the pandemic. We are looking for anyone who has come up with a game-changing innovation to tackle the problems in which we have all shared. You could be a pub which made meals for front line workers or started deliveries for vulnerable people, a farm shop which went above and beyond to ensure there was food on the shelves for shoppers, a distillery which moved into hand sanitiser, what we are looking for is an entrant who has adapted to help others with the challenges we have all faced.
Young Farmer of the Year
The winner of this award will be anyone under 35 who has displayed a real talent for farming, whether running their own operation as landowner or tenant, taking over a family farm or showing exceptional dedication as a farm apprentice. Nominations should show how entrants have worked towards their chosen career path and outline their plans for building a resilient, sustainable business within the changing face of agriculture.
Farm of the Year
This award is open to farms in any sector, including arable, mixed, livestock, and horticulture, and of any size. We are looking for nominations which outline what sets your farm apart from the rest whether that is through management techniques, diversification, sustainable working practices, applications should show how you are producing a robust, resilient business for the future.
The countryside is dependent on an army of volunteers who provide a huge range of benefits with their work. Initiatives can range from being a show steward to litter picking, or from wildlife monitors to the army of helpers who helped rural people shielding in the pandemic. This award is to recognise the selfless work carried out by these people and judges will be looking for someone who has a real passion for their cause and an love of the work they carry out. Entrants should outline why they feel volunteering is important and what benefits their work brings to their chosen charity or event.
Rural Business and Professional Services
The rural economy is supported by a wide range of businesses, from animal feed suppliers to fuel suppliers, machinery to fertiliser. Vets, contractors, accountants, rural surveyors and land agents, and farm secretaries all have important roles and we want to find the professionals who go that extra mile for customers. Entrants will need to demonstrate the role they play in the rural community and how their support can help clients reach their business goal.
Equine-based Business of the Year
Yorkshire has a large and thriving equine sector, despite the cancellation of many of its key events due to the pandemic. Hundreds of businesses and individuals are involved in horse-related businesses and we want to hear from them, whether riding schools, livery yards, events, instructors, farriers, equine vets and physiotherapists, equine dentists, suppliers or retailers. Horses have played an important role in people’s lives at a challenging time and we want to hear from the people who have made it possible. Livery yards who have made it possible for people to carry on spending time with their horses, riding schools and RDA groups which have managed to keep going through the shutdown or the welfare professionals who have worked to keep our horses fit and well.
Food and Drink Producer of the Year
Yorkshire has a long and proud history as a food producer and we want to hear from anyone who is carrying on that legacy.Whether they produce bread, vegetables, cheese, meat, ice-cream, drinks or anything in between, the demand for artisan produce has never been higher. With food provenance and the focus on the UK’s high standards during the Agriculture Bill debate placing awareness of food safety among consumers at an all time high, this award is looking for the food and drink innovator who has a passion for their product and the importance of homegrown food.
Rural Tourist Attraction and Hospitality
This category is open to any attraction in a rural setting, from gardens to open farms, visitor centres to activity centres, and the rural hospitality sector which works so closely with both visitors to the countryside and local residents. Whether it is a hotel, glamping site, pub or tearoom entrants will need to demonstrate the vision, creative flair and ambition which sets it apart from the others. Everyone in the tourism and hospitality sectors have faced a challenging year with many places finding themselves unable to open. Now visitors are beginning to return, the judges will be looking for the attraction or hospitality venue which is going that extra mile.
Farm Shop of the Year
We know many farm shops have used their expertise to survive and thrive during the various lockdowns. Some may have only just opened their doors for the first time as the pandemic struck while more established venues have found new ways of serving the community. Entrants may have innovated and adapted during the pandemic ensuring local producers have outlets and consumers can source the food they need or they may have established their own farm shop to reach a new market for their products. This award aims to recognise innovation whether it is an established or new business.
Lifetime Achievement Award
An individual, chosen by us, who has dedicated decades of service to agriculture in Yorkshire and deserves extra special recognition for their outstanding achievements. We are not inviting nominations for this category.