Cream of the crop at Cornish farm awards
A dairy-farming couple from St Ives have been named Cornwall Farmers of the Year.
Christopher and Rachel Knowles, from Trink Dairy Ltd, took the top title when the very best of Cornish agriculture was celebrated at a dazzling ceremony last night in Wadebridge.
The occasion was the presentation of the Western Morning News Cornwall Farm Business Awards, which have come to epitomise and celebrate the pinnacle of achievement in the county's farming scene.
In winning the top award, the Knowles beat seven other finalists, who each won categories of the scheme. Now in its fourth year and held in aid of the Addington Fund, it supports farmers in need of financial help, in particular in finding accommodation for people entering the profession and those wishing to retire.
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Mr and Mrs Knowles won the Best Dairy category prize for their farming system and produce from Trink Farm, where they have established a national reputation over many years.
The judges worked hard over several weeks – but could not come to a decision on the winner of the Best Woman in Farming title, which was split between Emma Martin, of Martin's Dairy Ltd, St Mabyn, and Sally Lugg, of the Primrose Herd at Redruth.
Best Commercial Farmer was David Simmons, of Riviera Produce, Hayle.
Farming Champion title went to Mike and Maud Maddock, of Saltash, who have fostered many children on their farm over the years.
Sarah Talbot-Ponsonby, from Helsett Farm, Boscastle was the Best Farm processor for her milk, yoghurts, cheese and dairy drinks from her Ayrshire herd.
Best Farm Diversification title was went to Jonathan and Martin Tamblin, of Holwood Business Centre, Saltash for the business units, fishing lake and holiday cottages they run together with their large-scale pig, beef and arable business.
And there were no surprises when Josh and Rubin Collins, of Tregonan Farm, Truro took the Best Farm Contractor title.
Guest of honour at the awards dinner, at the Royal Cornwall showground pavilion, was Lord Curry of Kirkharle, one of the nation's leading farming figures, who, as Sir Don Curry, led the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food in 2002, following the disastrous outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
Ian Bell, director of the Addington Fund, said: "Farming has never been so critical to this country as it is now. We shall only succeed in feeding the nation if we have the right calibre of farmers.
"Personally I find the process of farming in Cornwall fascinating throughout the year – from picking daffodils to harvesting cauliflower and planting of the famous new potatoes.
"The debacle of the horsemeat scandal has focused the minds of consumers on insisting on buying British and buying local – and they can't do better than seeking out Cornish produce."