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Norfolk Farm Business Competition 2018 is open for entries

Hirst Farms at Ormesby, winners of the 2017 Norfolk Farm Business Competition. Pictured are Richard (left) and Robert Hirst in a field of barley. Picture: Chris Hill

Hirst Farms at Ormesby, winners of the 2017 Norfolk Farm Business Competition. Pictured are Richard (left) and Robert Hirst in a field of barley. Picture: Chris Hill

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A special award for the best small enterprise is a major feature of the latest Norfolk County Farm Business competition.

A challenge cup for the winning small farm-based business under 160 hectares, or about 400 acres, will also be judged as part of the 39th annual competition.

Organised by the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association since 1979, the county’s top farm businesses compete for the supreme title and the Barclays Bank Challenge Trophy.

And in June, east Norfolk farmer Richard Hirst and family, of Ormesby, near Great Yarmouth, will be defending their title against last year’s qualifying finalists.

“But we’re keen to encourage the new generation of entrepreneurs in the county’s farming industry,” said Robert Mitchell, chairman of the association’s farm competition.

“We know there are some first-class start-ups and exciting farm diversifications driven especially by many younger farmers. This award is looking to recognise someone with enthusiasm who may have added a new arm to a family business for example.”

The judge, Andrew Morton, of the JSR Farms based in East Yorkshire, will be looking for an award-winning business, which could involve livestock, a start-up or diversification on less than 160ha.

And the top award will be judged by a fifth generation Scottish farmer, David Hay, from Perthshire. The family enterprise, which includes 2,500 hectares of owned and contracted land, won the UK Farm Business of the Year in 2017. A world curling champion in 1991, Mr Hay will be joined by a colleague for the judging in mid-June.

Wiltshire farmer Robin Blatchford completes the judging line-up for the competition.

Two long-standing committee members, incidentally both former Aylsham Show presidents, Bill van Poortvliet, of Colby, and Jimmy Fowell, of Itteringham, have retired. They have been replaced by Emily Page, of Scratby, James Chapman, of Martham, and Jeffrey Buxton, of Coltishall.

Competition entries must be received by June 1. Judging will be take place in mid-June and awards will be presented on the champion farm in early July.

• Details of the annual competition can be found at the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association website.


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