Celebrating the creative thinking, innovation and dedication of Britain’s farmers

Farmers Guardian received an overwhelming number of entries from farmers across the UK for the 2014 British Farming Awards.

The awards aim to celebrate innovative and determined farmers who have, and are, making changes to their business in a bid to successfully grow and secure a future in British agriculture.

Farmers Guardian editor Emma Penny said: “To receive such a great level of entries in what is only the event’s second year is amazing”.

The finalists were each interviewed by a member of the Farmers Guardian team. The results of the indepth interviews were discussed by the 33-strong panel of judges who are responsible for deciding the overall winners.

The winners were announced at the awards presentation evening, this year being held at Chateau Impney Hotel, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, on Thursday, October 23. We are very proud to have been “Highly Commended” for Diversification Innovator of the Year.


Diversification Innovator of the Year

‘If you have successfully taken an idea, from conception, through research and planning to the successful delivery of an on farm project which has enhanced your farm income and added value to your farming business then you could be a real contender for this year’s Diversification Innovator award.

Time, in today’s very busy world, is at a premium so to successfully develop a new business alongside your existing farming operation shows that you have the commitment, drive, ability to think creatively, and courage to try something new. We share many of the same values at Santander and look forward to meeting you.’

Gazegill.jpgGazegill Organic Farm

The list of developments which have turned Lower Gazegill Farm in Lancashireinto a thriving business is long. It includes sales of raw and un-homogenised organic milk from the 60-cow Dairy Shorthorn herd, as well as direct and online sales of pork, lamb, beef, veal and mutton processed in the farm butchery. There is also an education facility and a care farm, which takes in adults with learning difficulties on a day-visitor basis. These clients grow herbs and edible flowers which are offered for sale.

“We have two main brands; Gazegill Organics and Emma’s Dairy, which is named after my wife,” says Ian O’Reilly. “Adding value to our organic milk, through processing and direct sales, has allowed us to keep our dairy herd. There is a growing demand for raw milk and milk, but any surplus is sold through an organic co-operative; it is currently worth 43ppl.

“We are close to Clitheroe, although without easy access from the main road. That means we have to deliver our products to customers and also try to attract them to our on-site butchery.

“Social media has proved to be a great way of boosting our online sales and we find Twitter and Facebook particularly useful. Our website is updated on a regular basis, to keep existing and potential clients informed about what is happening on the farm. We send off between 80-140 boxes of milk and meat every week and when we launched our home-produced bacon on the internet, it sold out within an hour.”

Ian and Emma’s track record on communicating with the public about farming is impressive.

“We hosted more than 260 free educational and school visits last year; this is something we feel very passionate about,” adds Ian. “Our farming ethos has always been to put in more than we take out.”