Reflecting on the Cumbria Farmer Awards 2022

The Cumbria Farmer Awards 2022 took place at the start of August and for the second year Paragon’s Managing Director, David Black, was one of the judges.

Following their inaugural year in 2021, this year’s awards ceremony was held at the Greenhill Hotel, near Wigton.

 David said: “In my second year of being a judge for the Cumbria Farmer Awards, I was immensely impressed again with the range and quality of the nominated entries.

 “The judging began in March when the entries were sent out to the judges. We then met initially in April to discuss each category and after discussion each judge was asked to rank their top three - those scores were then collated to give the three finalists.  

“There was some lively debate around the judging table, but, with discussion, consensus on the finalists was usually reached with some of the categories then being subjected to a second layer of “in-person” judging.

 “Some of the winners, those which did not need a visit, like Young Farmers Clubs, were further discussed and the winner agreed. Those categories that would benefit from a visit, such as Farmers of the year, were visited by teams of judges who then reported back at a later meeting and the winner was agreed at the last meeting in June.

“Paragon this year were also delighted to sponsor the Farming Family Business of the Year Award, which again demonstrated the wealth of talent in the county, and 10 of us were there to celebrate the winners.”

More than 220 industry professionals from across the county attended the ceremony at at the Greenhill Hotel, organised by Newsquest Cumbria in partnership with Carlisle-based accountants, financial and business advisers Armstrong Watson, to toast exceptional individuals and generations of farming families across 14 categories.  

Alongside farming’s core sectors – dairy, beef, sheep and machinery - there was also recognition for students, young farmers’ clubs, new entrants, food, local agricultural businesses, and the huge number of diversifications. 

New awards this year were Women in Agriculture and The Farming Family Business of the Year. The latter was sponsored by Paragon and won by the Lamb family who have run Burns Farm in the Lake District for four generations.

The judging panel was headed by Andrew Robinson, partner and head of agriculture and farming at Armstrong Watson and David’s fellow judges were David Hall, NFU North West Regional Director; Alistair Mackintosh, west Cumbrian beef and sheep farmer and chairman of Red Tractor Assurance, as well as the National Farmers’ Union Cumbrian council delegate; Ian Bowness, Aspatria dairy farmer and NFU county chairman; Julia Aglionby, Armathwaite farmer and Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land; Lois Mansfield, Professor of Upland Landscapes, and Director of Ambleside Campus; Robert Craig, Nuffield Scholar and Armathwaite dairy farmer; pedigree livestock expert Heather Pritchard; Adam Day, Managing Director of The Farmer Network, based in Penrith; Michael Peile, agricultural partner at David Allen Accountants in Dalston; Craig Brough, Hopes Land Agency Manager, Wigton; and Cumbrian farmer and entrepreneur Chris Dickinson, and Commercial Livestock Sales Manager (as well as auctioneer) with the Harrison & Hetherington senior operations team.

 He added: “The evening itself was a huge success and no-one could come away from that without feeling huge pride in what Cumbrian agriculture has to offer and in the genuine great people that work within the sector.

“There was such a feel-good factor in the room, a real feeling of community and achievement. 

“Maureen, Caroline, Carrie and all at The Cumberland News and Newsquest should be delighted and proud of what they have created.”