SAA Awards Dinner 2018

Winners Announced - Suffolk Agricultural Association’s Annual Agricultural Awards

Agricultural leaders from across the region joined together at Trinity Park, Ipswich for the annual showcase of farming excellence and innovation.  Now into its seventh year, the Suffolk Agricultural Association Awards Dinner celebrates best practise from food, farming and countryside businesses across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex. The evening announced and celebrated the winners of the SAA’s farming competitions – Suffolk Farm Business Competition, Best Alternative Land Enterprise (BALE) Award, Suffolk Farming School of the Year, Suffolk Agricultural Apprentice of the Year and Schools Show Garden Competition.

First place in the prestigious BALE Award competition for farm diversification went to Rupert Brown of Suffolk Barn at Hawstead Place. The Best Green Practice award went to Welhams Meadow Luxury Lodges, and Certificates of Merit were awarded to Brambles Glamping, Back on Track Retirement Livery and Brockford Railway Sidings.

The BALE award is sponsored by Ashtons Legal, who have been sponsors since the competition began 27 years ago. Jonathan Long, Partner and Head of Agriculture and Estates at Ashtons Legal, judged the competition along with Loudon Greenlees, Treasurer of the SAA and Katharine Salisbury a previous BALE Award winner, with Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses.  The BALE Award celebrates farm diversification through alternative land or building use. 

The Suffolk Farm Business Competition is sponsored by Savills and recognises the best farms in Suffolk, in three categories according to size.  With a judging panel made up of farmers from Essex including, Robert Hodge, Neil Cowell, Hamish Howie, Johnnie Jiggens, Charlie Lochore and James Faulkner. Businesses were judged against various criteria including business management, sustainability, land occupation and community involvement.  Class 1, for farms of up to 250 hectares, sponsored by Hutchinsons, was awarded to Knock and Howson, Mill Green Farm, Stonham Aspall who received the F W Barker Perpetual Challenge Cup and Tankard.  Knock and Howson were also named Best Crop in this category which is sponsored by C F Fertiliser and Best Livestock Enterprise which is kindly sponsored by Stanfords, Colchester Livestock Market.

In Class 2, farms up to 500 hectares and sponsored by Barker Gotelee, top honours went to J R Grimsey Farms, Raydon Hall, Orford and Lodge Farm Sudbourne who were presented with the Cranworth Perpetual Challenge Cup and Tankard.  J R Grimsey Farms were also presented Best Crop in this category which is sponsored by C F Fertiliser.

The King George VI Memorial Challenge Cup and Tankard for Class 3 which is sponsored by RSM and recognises farms over 501 hectares was presented to James Foskett Farms Ltd, Low Farm, Bromeswell. 

The Suffolk Farming School of the Year winners were also duly recognised at the Awards Dinner.  The winning school, Saxmundham Primary School was awarded an engraved trophy which they will keep for the year.  This is a highlight of the SAA’s education calendar and is sponsored by the Felix Cobbold Trust.

The School Show Garden Competition, sponsored by the Felix Cobbold Trust was presented to St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Woodbridge, where their outstanding show garden impressed the judges at the Suffolk Show.

The Suffolk Agricultural Apprentice of the Year featured in the Awards Dinner with winner, Dan Goodwin acknowledged.  This competition is sponsored by the Chadacre Agricultural Trust and supported by Easton and Otley College and Fram Farmers and is open to apprentices with a Suffolk employer studying for an agriculturally related apprenticeship.

Phillip Ainsworth, Chief Executive of the SAA said: “The Awards dinner is a very important date in our calendar when we celebrate the best farming practise and innovation in the area.  Farming businesses have long been an important part of our economy and I’m delighted that through the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) Awards, we can all join together to celebrate how the sector continues to make an important contribution to the local and wider economy. It is also good to recognise the contribution young people make to the development of the sector through the Suffolk Farming School of the Year, Suffolk Agricultural Apprentice of the Year and the School Show Garden Competition. We are also extremely grateful to all our partners who have supported the competition through sponsorship and judging.”

See the full photo gallery of the evening here