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Call for entries for East Anglian diversification award

The Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA)in conjunction with sponsors Ashton KCJ solicitors is calling for entries forits prestigious Best Alternative Land Enterprise (BALE) award, now in its 23rdyear.

Open to all farm businesses throughoutSuffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex with buildings or land on theirfarms, the annual award is the only one of its type in the region andrecognises and rewards imaginative and commercial alternative non-agriculturaluses of the land and positive effects on the local economy. Previous winnershave included log cabin holiday accommodation, a wedding and outdoor eventvenue, as well as farm shops and a cheese-making enterprise.

And its not difficult to enter, sopotential entrants should not be deterred and make haste as the closing date isSeptember 12.

Last years winner Katharine Salisbury ofSuffolk Farmhouse Cheeses said, There are an awful lot of forms to fill inwith farming. Having entered the award several times, I can honestly say thisone is one of the best to enter and really not an arduous job. In fact we foundit quite an enjoyable task and actually realised how much we had learnedthrough entering. Completing the award entry makes you take stock and takepride in all you have achieved and of course, have a good tidy up!

A feeling echoed by Nathan Nobbs, from PotsfordCare Services Ltd, winners of the Best Newcomer Award in 2013, for their workas a Care Farm, at Letheringham, near Wickham Market. Preparing for thecompetition gave us a focus and an excuse to get the farm looking tidy andpresentable for the judging. It helped with staff morale and gave ourco-farmers something to really aim for.

This year the judges, Jonathan Long, Partnerand Head of Agriculture and Estates at Ashton KCJ, Katharine Salisbury and SAAPresident Clare, Countess of Euston will particularly be looking for theintegration of green technologies, sustainability, recycling and inclusion ofenvironmental practices, when they visit the entrants on September 23 or 24 toevaluate the entries.

And for the winners, the first prize is theAshton KCJ Challenge Cup and 2,000 of legal advice, the second prizewinner andthe Best Newcomer both receive 1000 and there is a 500 legal health check forthe Best Green Practice, all of whom will be announced at the AnnualAgricultural Awards dinner to be held at Trinity Park on Thursday October 23.All entrants receive two complimentary tickets.

It was a privilege for Jason and I to winlast year. It was a lovely feeling to be acknowledged for what we had done andhow far we had come. Awards like this are so positive for the profile offarming and helps incentivise others to be bold and set up new alternativebusinesses, said Katharine.

Jonathan Long said: Ashton KCJ is delightedto be sponsoring the BALE Award once again this year and that it will be partof the annual agricultural awards dinner for the third year running, giving theAward the profile it deserves.

We have seen timeand time again how bringing in professionals, such as solicitors, enablesfarmers and landowners to diversify and set up new and exciting ventureswithout taking anything away from their farming business. I am always astoundedby the high quality and sheer variety of the entries we receive each year andlook forward to this years judging process.

Suffolk Show director Bill Baker said, TheBALE awards cause great excitement and amazement when the entries start comingin. The level of enterprise, imagination, creativity and understanding ofmarket requirements and relevance is outstanding. The standard increases yearon year and furthermore every year our winners say how significant thisaccolade above all others is to them and their businesses.”

Entries should give a written account of thebusiness and accompany it with the entry form which can be downloaded at,and sent accompanied by a cheque for 20 per enterprise to Sue Bennitt, SAA,Trinity Park, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich IP3 8UH.

Note: all entrants must be members of theAssociation or apply for membership at the time of entering. All entries mustbe received by September 12, 2014.


  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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