The new venue and festive timing, not only saw the event sell out in a matter of weeks, but certainly proved to be a hit as over 180 tickets have already been reserved for next year’s event, which will take place on 30 November 2019.
Following a four-course Christmas dinner, the winners of the Farming Awards, sponsored by South East Farmer magazine, were unveiled. Growing in reputation, the awards received a record number of nominations this year and judges had their work cut out to select winners from the top nominees. Before heading to the popular photo booth or taking to the dance floor, guests took part in a charity auction and with a diverse array of prizes having been donated, an impressive total of £1,850 was raised for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.
Fruit farmer of the year was presented to Richard Edmed who judges described as “someone who gets up, gets out and gets things done”, commending him for his forward-thinking on-farm approach and ability to give back to the industry by sitting on various boards
Running 800 cows on the marshes of the Isle of Sheppey, beef farmer of the year was awarded to Burden Bros with one of the site visit judges stating: “I was hugely impressed by the quality of store cattle.”
In the dairy farmer of the year category, judges said that finalists all demonstrated a massive knowledge and understanding of current and future industry issues, with winner, William Westacott, standing out for his financial scrutiny.
Sheep farmer of the year went to Simon Phillips for his “exceedingly hard work throughout the year”, with the 500 ewes looking very well and “attention to detail obviously of paramount importance and was evident when visiting”.
AB Jones and Partners at Harvel House Farm scooped family farm of the year having impressed the judges with the extent of their farm shop operation, which includes a butchery and kitchen that specialises in homemade pies and cakes.
Looking to the next generation, agricultural student of the year was awarded to Matt Broad, who has just finished his course at Hadlow College.
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Photos: ©Martin Apps, Countrywide Photographic