THE countdown has begun to the big night when the winners in the region's top farming awards will be revealed.

Judges have now chosen the finalists in each of the nine categories for this year’s Northern Farmer Awards.

They now have the tough task of choosing all the category winners, whose names will be revealed at the awards presentation evening on Thursday, February 28.

Also unveiled on the big night at Pavilions of Harrogate, the Great Yorkshire Showground, will be the overall winner, the 2019 Northern Farmer of the Year.

Among the finalists are Tim and Sarah Dunn, from Bransdale, in Sheep Farmer of the Year, and Tamara Hall, from near Beverley, in Arable Farmer of the Year.

More than 400 people are set to attend the event, which will again be hosted by Wendy Gibson.

Wendy co-presented the regional television news programme Look North for many years, and is a farmer’s daughter from County Durham.

Fiona Taylor, publisher of The Northern Farmer, said: “I am very much looking forward to getting involved in the 2019 Northern Farmer Awards and being inspired by stories about hard-working and innovative people across the industry in our region.

“This is a particularly challenging period for many of our readers, and so we feel it is more important than ever to support them and celebrate their achievements.”

Andrew Hitchon, editor of The Northern Farmer, said: “Our 2019 awards night will take place little more than a month before we leave the EU, thus inaugurating the biggest change in British agriculture for many decades.

“Whatever that may bring, it is surely essential that we celebrate the best qualities of Northern farmers, qualities that will stand them in good stead for any challenges that lie ahead."

The event’s principal sponsor is once more Mole Valley Farmers.

The category sponsors are CF Fertilisers, Outstanding Achievement; Thorpe Trees, Diversification of the Year; Bimeda, Sheep Farmer of the Year; S&A Fabrications, Beef Farmer of the Year; Lely Centre Longtown, Dairy Farmer of the Year; The Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Family-Run Farm of the Year; NFU Mutual, Young Farmer of the Year; East Durham College, Farm Manager of the Year; and Pottinger, Arable Farmer of the Year.

In addition, Agriplus Ltd is sponsoring the champagne reception at the beginning of the awards evening, and Kettlewell Fuels is supporting the the videos which are used in the judging process and shown the audience during the presentations.