RONNIE'S A JUDGE FOR FARMERS'S GUARDIAN AWARDS 2019!
Published 15th August 2019
Well what an exciting day I had on 15th May this year! Back in May this year, I was asked to represent Alexia Robinson (the founder of www.lovebritishfood.co.uk) and be a judge at this year's British Farming Awards organised and sponsored by the Farmers Guardian publication - a huge privilege! I was to be a judge in the Farm Diversification Category (small to medium business) which was of great interest to me as we are a medium sized farm who have diversified as result of the unstable financial, political and weather related "climate" agriculture finds itself in these days.
Travelling up to my hotel in Preston the night before was not the most enjoyable experience. The rain was lashing down on the M62 and making driving conditions hazardous - there were certainly no farmers out cutting corn that day! I was up early the next morning, arriving in good time at the Farmers Guardian building with my pile of notes I had made on the 4 shortlisted businesses. Ben, the editor of Farmers Guardian introduced me to the other 2 judges who I would spend the next few hours with and then it was heads down working through the submissions and speaking with all the competition entrants. It was a huge privilege to speak with all 4 farm businesses and to get to the last 4 is a great achievement! All 4 businesses had done extremely well and with such a range of diversifications. For me I wanted to hear the word "passion" in how they spoke about their businesses - they were all obviously talented at what they did and had worked extremely hard on the business side, but I was looking for the farm which had that "X Factor" element who were so passionate about what they did day in, day out - and Wow! we found the one which had that in bucket loads!
A winner and runner up chosen, there was just time for a quick bite to eat before saying goodbye to everyone. Andrew had joined me on this little overnight trip, taking advantage of the very poor weather the country was having so it was nice to have him drive me home as I nattered on about what a superb time I'd had judging this category and the lovely people I had worked with that morning. I was truly buzzing!
Just another day in my extraordinary and special life!
But mum's the word! the winner and runner up will be announced at the Awards Ceremony down in Birmingham in October. I think a new frock might be needed for that, don't you think?
Soon back home and back to what we do at Fulbeck Farms - just because the rain had stopped harvest didn't mean that there weren't plenty of jobs to be doing. Our suckler cattle still need checking daily for heath and safety, the office is always a very busy place, machinery maintenance in the workshop is ongoing at harvest time (machines work much longer hours and are pushed to their limits) and of course there is the culinary oil business and holiday let to look after.