WHETHER you’re lambing, calving, dealing with the logistics of lockdown or just making the most of the good weather, we know how busy you all are on farm at the moment.

Which is why we have taken the decision to push back the closing date for nominations for Cumbria Farmer Awards 2020 to Wednesday, June 10.

With farmers doing an amazing job keeping the nation fed at this truly unprecedented time, it seems the industry is finally getting the wider recognition it richly deserves. And this is why the awards were launched in a bid to honour the dedicated professionals of the local farming industry who help feed the nation and grow the local economy.

Entries are being sought for the 12 categories now open for nominations and entries, which can also be made online at www.newsandstar.co.uk/farmerawards/ before the new closing date.

The search to find farming’s unsung heroes is organised in partnership with Carlisle-based business advisers and accountants Armstrong Watson, which is also sponsoring a further category, the Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the drinks reception. Andrew Robinson, partner and head of agriculture and farming at Armstrong Watson, will head the respected panel of judges.

The winners will be announced at a glittering awards dinner at the Shepherd’s Inn at Rosehill in Carlisle on Friday, September 25.

Alongside farming’s core sectors – dairy, beef, sheep and machinery – there is also a celebration of talented youngsters coming into the industry and a reminder of the contribution rural businesses are making to the county’s tourism, textile, wedding, retail and wildlife sectors, to name just a few.

Other category sponsors so far are Dalston accountants, David Allen, sponsoring the Young Farmers’ Club of the Year award, and supporting the host on the night; Contractor of the Year and Dairy Farmer of the Year sponsored by Carlisle-based Carrs Billington;The Farming Champion category sponsored by the National Farmers Union (NFU); The Land and Environmental Award sponsored by the University of Cumbria; Livestock Farmer of the Year, Carlisle-based H&H Group; Agricultural Student or Rural Skills Award, Red Tractor Assurance; Tenant Farmer of the Year, National Trust Cumbria; Diversification of the Year, Burnetts Solicitors of Carlisle; and the Against All Odds category sponsored by Lely Center of Longtown.

Vanessa Sims, Newsquest Cumbria’s regional group editor, said: “With so much change and uncertainty characterising the current era of agriculture, the Cumbria Farmer Awards are a timely celebration of all that is best in the Cumbrian countryside – the drive and creativity that underpins the county’s economic and social life.”