With the agricultural industry continuing to look for ways to build trust and relationships with the consumer, one grower from Lincolnshire is encouraging farmers to apply for a new award that has helped him build connections, bridging the gap between food and farming.
The inaugural Rawcliffe Bridge Award for Sustainability, managed by BASF and supported by Farm491 and the Institute of Agricultural Management, was won by Colin Chappell of Gander Farm near Brigg in 2022. Since taking home the accolade, the award has supported him and his business in more ways than he anticipated.
“It will transform you and your business. The fact that people in the industry actually know my name, and the doors it has opened, has been incredible. There have been travel opportunities both in the UK and overseas, I have attended numerous events where I was put in front of people of influence to discuss food, farming and the disconnect, and with the support of BASF, we have hosted a number of additional school visits this year.
“My local MP came to visit me, as a result of hearing I had won the Rawcliffe Bridge Award for Sustainability, which considering I am in a very urban area with a steel industry, was a phenomenal result. She spent nearly two hours on-farm learning about my farming system and the wider work that goes on to produce food, whilst also protecting the environment and supporting the local community.
The award looks to support an individual who delivers on all three pillars of sustainability– people, profit and planet. For Colin this included bringing school children on to the farm, ensuring his business is profitable and viable for the future by demonstrating good data and efficiencies, and looking after the environment and biodiversity with wildflower meadows alongside his commercial crop.
Commenting on the award, Mike Green, Agricultural Sustainability Manager at BASF said,
“This award focuses on all that goes in to ensuring a farming business is sustainable, and Colin was a fantastic example of this. We are now looking for our next winner, who may tick some or all of these elements. Are you looking at new systems and solutions for the future of your business? Do you engage with the general public on social media, host or support a farming event or go into schools? Are you leaving areas of your land for nature and wildlife?
“Every farm, regardless of size or type is encouraged to apply. The application has been designed so it is very much about you and your own sustainability journey, as we know every farm will have a different approach, that works for them and their setup.”
The winner will receive a commemorative award plate, presented at a special on-farm award event, as well as a year’s membership to the Institute of Agricultural Management, a year’s membership to Farm491, a ticket to the Oxford Farming Conference 2024 and access to BASF sustainability experts to offer guidance and support for future improvements.
For anyone apprehensive about entering, Colin is keen to reassure them the whole experience is a positive one.
“I was apprehensive applying at first, as I was concerned that as a National award, BASF might want a great deal from me. I have been invited to do as little or as much as I would like, with no pressure to say yes. The important thing is the opportunities are there and if you do take them, you will gain so much more than the winning the award. Do not be discouraged by the fact it’s a national company supporting you, because that’s all they do – they support and help you.”
Applications are now open and will close on 26th May 2023. Following a shortlisting, the finalists will then receive a visit from a panel of judges, with the winner announced in July.
To find out more and apply visit, https://www.agricentre.basf.co.uk/en/Sustainability/The-Rawcliffe-Bridge-Award-for-Sustainability.html