SOF Hon Sec Ruth Elwood (P80-84) writes : This year’s annual Suffolk Farm Business Competition took place on 19th and 20th June; unusually, for the first time ever, judged and stewarded by a full team of Old Framlinghamian, Suffolk and Norfolk farmers. SOF Hon Gen Sec, Ruth Elwood was invited to join eight of the OF farmers for supper at Milsom’s in Kesgrave, to report on the event.
The competition was organised by SAA’s John Taylor (Z77-86) and Nick Watts (Z71-79), alongside Tony Pulham (G79-84) as three SAA farmers, acting as Stewards throughout the completion. They supported six judges, four of which were OF farmers from Norfolk, and two from Tendring in Essex, namely: James Chapman (G75-84), Rob Norman (02-07), Andy Allen (K74-80) and William Gribbon (G81-84) and John Jiggens (G95-20) and Matt Low (G93-98) from Essex. The competition was supported by Sam Tydeman (S88-97), representing Savills who help sponsor the event.
Over the two days, judges reviewed 16 farms across three entry categories: Class 1 (up to 250 hectares), Class 2 (251-500 hectares) and Class 3 (over 501 hectares). Awards are to be given from first to third place in each category, with the OF judges assessing the whole farm business and management of the farm, including: enterprise management, marketing, employment and investment strategy. They also had to consider business sustainability of land occupation, including product development, diversification and long-term development, as well as the farm’s social and community involvement, including local education, public land use or employment activities. Special awards are to be given for the Best Crop, Livestock Enterprise, Conservation and Farm Diversification.
A great deal of ‘old school’ banter and lively conversation resulted, during drinks on the garden terrace, then taken into the dining room and continuing late into the evening. There was one area that everyone agreed on, which was the need for some rain, following the extended warm, dry weather! Everyone was looking forward to hearing the results and awarding trophies at the 19th October SAA Awards Ceremony, at Trinity Park later this year.
Pictured from L-R: Andy Allen (K74-80), Matt Low (G93-98), John Jiggins (G95-20), William Gribbon (G81-84), Nick Watts (Z71-79), James Chapman (G75-84), John Taylor (Z77-86) and Rob Norman (02-07).