The search is on to find the Isle of Man’s most forward-looking farmers.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) is inviting nominations for the 2015 Tomorrow’s Farmer Award, which is sponsored by retailer Shoprite.
Nominations should carry a brief overall reason and describe how the farmer meets the award’s criteria, which are:
• Efficient and profitable farming
• Meeting consumer demands with their produce
• The promotion of locally produced food
• Innovative farm diversification
• Farming in ways that conserve the environment for the future.
Nominations should be sent to Audrey Fowler, Marketing Officer, DEFA, Thie Slieau Whallian, Foxdale, Isle of Man, IM4 3AS or email email@example.com by Friday 27th March.
Richard Ronan MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘The award recognises farmers who have an eye on the future with a positive outlook and a clear business focus.
‘The Isle of Man Government is aiming to grow the Isle of Man’s food and drink industry by £50 million in the next decade and farmers will play a key role in the success of this strategy.
‘Tomorrow’s farmers are maintaining a keen interest in the market place, diversifying to meet consumers’ demand and creating products the Isle of Man can be proud of.’
John Speakman, Senior Buyer for Shoprite, commented: ‘Shoprite are pleased to be associated with the Tomorrow’s Farmer Award as it recognises the best of the local producers, who provide Shoprite with the high quality local products that we require to serve our customers.
‘We see it as a way to encourage the future farmers on the Isle of Man to seek to produce the very best food products to supply the growing demand from the Island’s residents. Supporting local production is beneficial to the Isle of Man economy as well as providing long-term sustainability and traceability in our food supply.’
Last year’s winners were Ean and Jo Parsons of Baljean Farm, Laxey, and Alan Teare and Rachel Ranson of Ballakelly Farm, Andreas. They cannot be nominated for the award this year.
The award will be judged by the Minister, Mr Speakman, Mr Parsons, Dr Peter McEvoy, Director of Agriculture with DEFA, Brian Brumby, President of the Manx National Farmers’ Union, and Gordon Clague, President of the Royal Manx Agricultural Show.
The judges will visit farms that make the shortlist and the winners will be revealed on Friday 7th August at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show. The winners will receive £200 cash together with glass trophies and certificates.
Photo - Last year’s winners Ean Parsons (left) and Alan Teare (right) with John Speakman from sponsor Shoprite.