An award-winning young farmer has spoken of how his Bernard Matthews Youth Awards prize has helped him with his poultry business.

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Seventeen-year-old Tom Buck, from Yaxham, was named the winner of the young farmer category of the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2011, and he was one of a number of young people honoured for achieving great things in a special awards ceremony.

Now the 2012 awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, are looking for a new set of young stars aged 11 to 18 to recognise for their inspiring achievements in categories including food champion, young farmer, bravery, education, community, charity, sport, cultural and environment.

Just like last year, the best in each category will receive £1,000 and there will also be a special winner of winners award.

Tom impressed the 2011 judges with his commitment to breeding and showing purebred poultry ranging from dewlap Toulouse geese to tiny pekin bantams.

He has kept poultry since he was two years old, and about 18 months ago he set up his own Yaxham-based business Anglia Poultry which now has many different breeds of chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks.

Tom goes to shows all over the country, belongs to many poultry clubs, and does a lot of volunteer work with the Norfolk Poultry Club. He is extremely enthusiastic about encouraging more young people to be interested in farming.

He said he was pleased that his farming achievements were recognised at the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards 2011, and said that there were also a lot of other young farmers achieving great things.

With his £1,000 prize he has bought breeding pens, fencing and sheds for his business.

Tom said he would like to encourage more people to become involved in farming, either as a hobby or professionally.

When asked why he enjoys farming, he said: “There is a new challenge every day. There is always something different happening.”

About the youth awards, he said: “It is a good scheme and it has helped plenty of young people. It is a good idea and I would encourage other people to enter.”

The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards in association with the Eastern Daily Press are also supported by Open, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Garage.

The EDP will report on all the 2011 winners of the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards in the coming weeks. To see the youth awards stories online as they are published visit www.edp24.co.uk

• For more information on the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards visit www.bmyouthawards.com

How to enter

All nine awards are open to both individuals and groups, and people can either enter themselves or nominate others.

Entrants must be aged 11 to 18 and live in Norfolk or Suffolk. Entries should show the entrant’s achievements and why they are exceptional.

If nominating somebody else you must have their permission and, if under 18, the permission of their parent or guardian. You can enter by filling out a form at www.bmyouthawards.com, uploading a video on the youth awards website or downloading a form from the website and sending it to Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, c/o Shorthose Russell Ltd, 12 Meridian Way, Meridian Business Park, Norwich, NR7 0TA.

Video entries must be no bigger than 10MB and no longer than three minutes.

The closing date for entries is July 20, 2012. Shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards evening on Tuesday, October 30 when winners will be revealed.

For more information visit the website, follow the awards on Twitter at @BMYouthAwards or telephone 01603 706566.

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