British Farming Awards 2015 are go!
As official sponsors of the Digital Innovator category at the 2015 is year’s British Farming Awards, we take a look at the nominees.
The wait is nearly over! The 2015 British Farming Awards are set to take place this evening (Thursday, October 15) at the Chateau Impney Hotel in the historic town of Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire. Rugby legend Phil Vickery MBE is this year’s guest speaker (the farmer’s son was a key member of the England team which won the Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2003).
The British Farming Awards were established to give recognition to farmers who are taking a proactive approach to innovation to improve and grow their businesses. Farmflo are proud to be supporting UK farmers by sponsoring the British Farming Awards’ Digital Innovator of the Year award, and we will be attending tonight’s event along with the five finalists for the category.
Wendy and Mark Botwright
SOUTH WEST GARLIC FARM, DORSET
South West Garlic Farm started on just a 0.11 hectare (quarter of an acre) when Wendy bought Mark some cloves of garlic for planting on their vegetable plot. Within a few years, Mark had created a small business with over 3,000 garlic plants in his garden.
He took advantage of Social Media and began branding himself as the “South West Garlic Farm” by documenting the “garlic life” through beautiful photography. This provided him with over 1,000 genuine enquires about his garlic.
Mark now has a following of over 10,000 on Twitter and Facebook. He uses this to engage with top chefs, restaurants, farm shops and specialist retailers and has appeared on James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen, Escape to the Country and Terry Wogan’s latest Foodie road trip.
FARMERS ON FILM, STAFFORDSHIRE
Sarah Gayton is passionate about British farming and food. After hearing about the commitment by the London 2012 Olympic Games Committee to source entirely British Food she recognised the opportunity to tell the story of where the food comes from and to promote British farming.
Sarah developed links with Staffordshire University to produce short films about farming which she successfully promoted using a range of social media including Twitter, You Tube and Facebook which informs the public about the fantastic work farmers do to produce quality food and conserve the British countryside.
Sarah and her filmmakers have created a film depicting the story of the Adcock family and their Dexter cattle called On Your Doorstep which has received praise from the general public, politicians including the former Defra Secretary, Caroline Spelman and other farming representatives.
OGILVY SPIRITS, ANGUS
AFTER spending 15 years working on the family farm, Graeme Jarron started looking for an additional diversification to bring in more income. Potatoes were grown on the farm and so Graeme decided vodka would be a good choice.
In 2011, Graeme sought help from the Distilling Department at Herriot Watt University. Shortly afterwards, Graeme employed a distiller, Abhi Danik, and they perfected the recipe. The building for the distillery was under construction and once finished, they began producing and bottling vodka on farm. Ogilvy Spirits was launched in January 2015.
Social media has been key to the growth of the business and Graeme uses Facebook and Twitter to tell the story of the farm. He tweets pictures of the farm and short videos of the harvesting process, the potatoes and how the vodka is made.
Fiona and Robert Park
CWMCRWTH FARM, CAMARTHENSHIRE
After moving to a dilapidated property with 20 hectares (50 acres) in Carmarthenshire in 2007, Robert Park established his pedigree herd of Oxford Sandy and Black pigs.
For three years, the Parks sold pork and bacon at local farmers’ markets and retail outlets, but by 2012 the Parks realised the market locally was very competitive and the pigs were taking an increasing amount of time for little return.
Early success with their self-catering accommodation encouraged the family to consider expanding this venture:
They developed smallholder courses and then ‘Junior Farmer’ weekends so they could offer something for all the family. More than 90 per cent of bookings are received online and Facebook is the most successful form of social media for the company.
Fiona uses it to post photographs, short films and messages to update existing and potential customers about new courses, what is happening on the farm and highlights from recent events.
The story of Shropshire Petals begins with an arable farm and Daisy Bubb who grew and sold dried flowers from the farm.
In 2005, Daisy’s son, Michael, and wife, Rosemary, decided on a change of direction and began selling natural confetti and Shropshire Petals was born. Now their son, Jim, runs the business and they employ nine permanent staff plus 45 students over summer to harvest the flowers.
Shropshire Petals launched its first website in 2006 and has invested in two complete re branding exercises since then.
The use of social media and identifying their target market has been key to the success of the business, according to PR manager, Jo Kidston.