Suffolk farmer delighted after scooping FWAG Silver Lapwing award

FWAG/Waitrose Silver Lapwing Awards 2017: from left, Duncan Sinclair, agriculture manager at Waitros

FWAG/Waitrose Silver Lapwing Awards 2017: from left, Duncan Sinclair, agriculture manager at Waitrose; Mike Hedges, chair of the Welsh Assembly Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee; winner Edward Flatt, Silver Lapwing judge Edward Charles Beaumont, FWAG Association chair Chris Butler. Picture: RICHARD STANTON. - Credit: Richard Stanton.

A delighted Suffolk farmer has scooped a prestigious national farm conservation accolade.

Edward Flatt of Eastwood Farm, Lound, near Lowestoft, was awarded the highly coveted Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) National Silver Lapwing Award for his outstanding commitment to good environmental practices, combined with high quality food production, on his 360 acre farm.

Now in its 40th year, the award, sponsored by Waitrose Farming Partnership, recognises farmers who go the extra mile to protect and enhance the countryside in which they farm. Edward, chosen from a national shortlist of seven farms, grows a rotation of spring beans, winter barley, spring barley and sugar beet, and describes himself as a spring crop specialist.

Production is limited by the soil type so he has embraced conservation wholeheartedly, according to judges.

'He has prolific low input barley followed by overwintered stubble and a host of 12m cultivated headlands producing a huge range of rare arable plants. This has been well thought through and expertly executed,' said FWAG.

The 2017 award was presented to him on Tuesday, September 12, by Mike Hedges, chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee for the National Assembly for Wales, at a ceremony hosted by Richard and Helen Roderick, the 2016 Silver Lapwing winners, at their farm in Brecon, Wales.

More than 110 people from the sectors attended the event, which included a farm walk and trailer ride.

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'I am delighted to have won the Silver Lapwing Award,' said Edward. 'To win such a prestigious award for conservation and sustainability, against competition from farmers across Britain, is a real honour. I am very grateful to my Suffolk FWAG adviser, Tim Schofield and my landlord, Hugh Crossley, for helping me get to this point '

Head judge Charles Beaumont said: 'Combining closely with Suffolk FWAG's Tim Schofield, Edward Flatt has used his own environmental knowledge and experience of growing spring crops on light land to produce a first rate effort. It was his 12 metre cultivated headlands that really caught the eye - brilliantly executed, with perfect timing, they have produced a profusion of rare arable plants.'