Brookhall Historical Farm provided the setting this week for the launch of the 2018 Farming Life awards, in association with Cranswick Country Foods.
It is now time to get your entries in for the event which will celebrate excellence in the agri food industry.
The deadline for applications is the end of August and the awards ceremony will take place in the La Mon Hotel and Country Club on Thursday, October 18.
Wednesday’s launch was attended by a large number of sponsors, as well as Nick Perry, permanent secretary of the Department of Justice.
Speaking at the launch, Farming Life editor Ruth Rodgers said the farming sector is a major contributor to the local economy employing thousands of people and the Farming Life Awards aim to recognise the vast talent, entrepreneurship and excellence that exists in the sector.
She added: “As the theme of the awards suggests we are ‘Celebrating Excellence in Farming’ and giving well deserved recognition to the best farmers and farming businesses in the industry.
“This year again there are seven farming awards covering all the main sectors - dairy, beef, sheep, pigs, poultry, arable/horticulture and Wildlife Friendly Farmer. This is an opportunity for our primary producers to take a well deserved bow for the hard work they do and their dedication to their businesses.
“Added to this we will be recognising the many commercial businesses involved in the farming sector with three business awards covering agri-food, artisan and training. Then we have three categories paying attention to particular sectors within farming - Farm Safe, Woman of Excellence in Agriculture and Young Farmer/Student. We also have two special recognition awards, Unsung Hero and Lifetime Achievement,” she added.
“This year we have introduced three new categories Vet of the Year, Best Promotional Campaign or Event and a Safer Communities Award.
“The awards offer farmers and businesses operating in the farming sector a great opportunity to showcase their achievements and increase their profile. It’s hard to believe that we are now embarking on our eighth year of the awards and I am delighted that they have continued to grow from strength to strength.”
Sponsors this year include Cranswick Country Foods who are associate sponsors of the awards.
Other sponsors include Alltech, Moy Park, the Farm Safety Partnership, Cookstown, Lantra Awards, Creagh Concrete, the RSPB, the Department of Agriculture, environment and Rural Affairs and AJS Promotions.
Again this year the awards have the support of two local MEPs Diane Dodds and Jim Nicholson.
Ruth added: “We also welcome for the first time as sponsors Kerry Foods, Bank of Ireland and the Department of Justice, who will be presenting a Safer Communities award. Earlier this year we were delighted to work with the department to highlight the issue of modern day slavery in the agriculture industry and we look forward to building on that in the future as we help them to highlight pertinent issues in the months ahead through the pages of Farming Life.
“I think it’s fair to say the awards are now established as one of the key dates for the farming industry here in Northern Ireland. And I think the range of sponsors help to show just how important the agri food sector is to life here in Northern Ireland.
“It is an event we are incredibly proud of and we hope that it will remain a fixture in the farming calendar for many more years to come.
“The last 12 months alone in terms of our weather has just shown how unpredictable it is to farm in Northern Ireland, so it is only right that we recognise those who rise above the challenges and operate to the highest levels of excellence.”
Details of the awards and categories can be found on page 35. You can also visit www.farminglife.com/farminglife awards for full details and to submit an entry.