Young farmer prize-winners are truly inspirational

Pictured at the Farm Business Food and Farming Industry Awards (from left to right) Speaker Michael Crick, Alistair Hunter Blair, James Griffin, William Judge, Jack Stilwell and Campbell Scott.

High-flying young farmers received national recognition at the UK’s prestigious Farm Business Food and Farming Industry Awards held at the House of Commons on 11 December.

In the Young Farmer of the Year category sponsored by Massey Ferguson, awards were presented to three impressive winners - Alistair Hunter Blair of G & A Hunter Blair, James Griffin, Partner J & P Griffin and Jack Stilwell, Director Green Lanes Farming Ltd.

“As long-term supporters of the Food and Farming Industry Awards, we were delighted to be part of the event once again,” said William Judge, Massey Ferguson Manager National Sales UK and Ireland who presented the Young Farmer awards along with Massey Ferguson’s Director of Marketing Services, Campbell Scott.

“With their emphasis on entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, the awards encourage the development of new thinking and ideas in British food and agriculture - vital for the future of our industry,” William continues. “For a New Generation from Massey Ferguson is our brand focus, and the motivation, enthusiasm and commitment demonstrated by these young farmers is truly inspirational.”

The jury applauded the young farmer winners for their drive, business acumen and determination – all key attributes required from the next generation of UK farmers to lead the way forward with vision and innovation.

A second-generation farmer, Alastair Hunter Blair from Herefordshire took succession of the farm tenancy from his father in 2012. He is heavily involved in technology a huge advocate of precision farming and the cost savings it has made for the business. James Griffin is a 7th generation farmer from Worcestershire and at aged 16 took over from his father who needed to take a step back on health grounds. James established a farm shop in 2007 and, with a commitment to honour the quality-orientated principles of his father, he has turned the enterprise into an exemplar of an artisan family farm. Jack Stilwell from Hampshire worked on a 2000 acre arable farm for 18 months prior to University, and then had a placement year with the Duke of Buccleuch estates. He prizes good business acumen, taking inspiration from the wider business and entrepreneurial world. Crowd-funding helped to kick-start his farming career and business has grown from 6 Hereford crosses on 20 acres, to 150 Hereford and Angus stores in a little over a year.