Farmers from across Devon have made it to the shortlist of the region’s premier agricultural awards, the Devon Farm Business Awards.

The awards, which are in their fourth year, are organised by Addington Fund, Stephens Scown and Devon County Agricultural Association. Designed to celebrate and showcase the best farmers and farming businesses in Devon, the awards will take place on the eve of the Devon County Show, on 17 May.

The event’s organisers highlight the strength of the shortlist as a reason for optimism in the face of the challenges currently facing the farming sector.

Ian Bell, OBE, Chief Executive of the Addington Fund said: “As an industry, farming will have to adapt to the challenges of Brexit.  The farmers shortlisted for our awards are already shaping their farming businesses to meet these challenges head-on.  These are the dynamic men and women who will manage change to achieve the maximum benefit for their own farming enterprises and the industry as a whole.”

Phil Reed, partner and head of rural services at Stephens Scown adds: “We were involved in creating these awards, and have been blown away by the standard of the shortlist each year. Now more than ever, we need to pull together as an industry and shout about our success. These hardworking farmers show just what drive, determination and talent exists in Devon’s farming community.”

Mary Quicke, Chairman of Council of the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA) said: “It’s an outstanding shortlist, which demonstrates the depth of talent that there is in Devon farming. The DCAA exists to promote excellence in farming, both within the industry and to the world outside, and the DFBA are at the heart of what we are. These farming businesses show, in practical, human terms what excellence means, and any one of them would be a worthy winner.”

The shortlist for the Best Commercial Farmer category, which is sponsored by PKF Francis Clark, is: the Lee family, who farm at Uppincott Farm, near Crediton; Colin Latham of Latham Partners, Illfracombe; Stuart and Lynette Luxton of North Alfordon, Okehampton; and Rodney Hooper of Lower Sessland Farm, Crediton.

The Best Dairy Farmer category, which is sponsored by Crediton Dairy, has a four-strong shortlist: Stewart and Ann Taylor of New Standon Farm, Okehampton; Lawrence Glanville of South Battisborough Farm, near Plymouth; Alan and Donna Webber of Hensley Farm, Crediton; and Tim Rich of Broadley Farm, Honiton.

The shortlist for the CAAV John Neason Diversification Award, which is sponsored by Devon County Council, County Farms Estate, are: Len and Angela Bartlett of Hayne Farm and Bartletts Farm Shop, Honiton; Andrew and Jenni Guy of Julian’s, Holsworthy; Janet and Andrew Verney of Verney’s Molton Ice, Bishops Nympton; and Lester and Helen Bowker of the Gateshayes Farm Partnership, Whimple.

The shortlist for the Best Young Farmer category, which is sponsored by Savills, is Richard Tucker of Ditchett Farm, Tiverton and Alex and Claire Wilson-North of Little Stone Farm, South Molton.

The other categories which will be announced on the night of the awards are: Best Woman in Farming (sponsored by NatWest); Farming Champion (sponsored by the NFU and NFU Mutual); Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by Cornish Mutual); and Devon’s Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers).