The Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit and Innovation for Agriculture’s competition to find the UK’s Top Soil Farmer of 2020 is open for applications.

Following the success of the competition over the last few years, the competition is open again from today, World Soil Day 2019. It aims to find farmers and growers who are engaged with, and passionate about managing their soils in a way which supports productive agriculture, biodiversity, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and builds soil organic matter and carbon. 

Sustainable soil management is one of the cornerstones of profitable farm businesses, a thriving and diverse natural environment and a transformation to a low carbon economy. Soil health is of critical importance to everyone and this competition champions farmers and growers who understand the importance of soil and are changing their management to protect and improve it.

Over the years the competition has attracted top quality farmers to apply, both large and small, conventional and organic, who have a  variety of enterprises on-farm. Previous winners include Clive Bailye, Tim Parton, Richard Suddes, Simon Cowell and Julian Gold.

Back in July at Julian Gold’s farm I was amazed at the combined knowledge and enthusiasm of the 40 or so farmers who gathered to learn more about Julian’s soil management” says  FCCT director Jonathan Smith. “It’s moments like these that you realise the importance of this competition, bringing people together to learn from each other and drive each other towards better soil management practice.

Right now, we need to show how farming can be part of the climate crisis solution, and indeed it can. The answer mostly lies in the soil, where good management can lead to net carbon sequestration. This is a win-win for farmers and the climate, and this competition will showcase some of the best examples of this.

We would love to see even more farmers and growers apply. Whether you have livestock, arable, veg, fruit, organic or not, please do think about applying. You might not think your good enough to win – well let us be the judge of that!”

Deborah Crossan, IfA’s Soil and Water Manager commented “we are delighted to launch Soil Farmer of the Year on World Soils Day. This competition continues to inspires others with positive stories of success and attracts entries from farmers who are managing their soils for resilience and a sustainable productive future.” 

Soil Farmer of the Year 2020

The competition is open to any UK farmer or grower who is managing their soils in a way which optimises soil health and quality. Applications are being taken here where there is more information and an opportunity to read the write ups from the last two years. The competition is being generously sponsored by Cotswold Seeds, and the top three entries will all receive prizes of fertility building or green manure seed.

Previous applicants are invited to apply again, and farmers or advisors are able to nominate others who they think are excelling in prioritising soil health in their business.

The competition opens today on World Soils Day (5th December), and will close on the 5th of March 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be visited by the judging panel and the results will be published at the end of April. The top three applicants will also be hosting farm walks during summer 2020. This year we will be returning to Groundswell in June to present the finalists with their awards and hear more about their award-winning soil management in a dedicated session for Soil Farmer of the Year at the event.