A search for Norfolk’s top farm business competition has started and a team of judges from Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Cornwall will be running the rule over the entrants in the 36th annual Norfolk County Farm Business competition in the middle of June.

There is always keen competition across the county for the annual awards, which were first made in 1979 by the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association.

The competition is open to all farm businesses and show president, Tony Bambridge, of B & C Farming, is urging fellow members to support the annual competition.

As the winner of a special prize in 1991 and a regular entrant, and most recently winning the reserve supreme championship in 2008, Mr Bambridge, of Park Farm, Blickling, relished the challenge of the competition. “The concept of having two other farmers on your farm judging your business is great for really considering the validity of what you are actually doing in that business,” he said.

“It is a great exercise to plan what and how you will tell two complete strangers all about your farming business,” he added.

And there’s another advantage too. “Having entered the farm competition your vision and awareness of all those jobs that need doing, but were conveniently put on hold become sharply in to focus and they miraculously get done, even though before we never quite had time!

On a more serious note, it is a great way for everyone involved in the farm business to be recognised, said Mr Bambridge.

A neighbouring tenant on the Blickling estate, Robert Mitchell, who is chairman of the competition’s organising committee, would be delighted to answer any questions from potential entrants.

“We’ve invited top judges to Norfolk for the competition. I know they’ll visit some first-class farms but we do need entrants in all the classes. It is open to any farmer or grower,” said Mr  Mitchell, of Flashpit Farm, who has been chairman for eight years.

The judges will be visiting the county in mid-June and entries close at the beginning of June. For full details, see the association’s website or ring Mr Mitchell on 01263 732125.

John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017
Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.
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