THE region’s top farming awards will mark the start of a new decade by once more celebrating the very best of Northern agriculture.

The countdown has begun to the big night when the winners of this year’s Northern Farmer Awards will be revealed.

The judges have the tough task of choosing all the category winners, whose names will be revealed at the awards presentation evening on Thursday, February 27.

Also unveiled on the big night at Pavilions of Harrogate, the Great Yorkshire Showground, will be the overall winner, the 2020 Northern Farmer of the Year.

The finalists in the Family-Run Farm of the Year category include the Stockdale family, of Carr House Farm, Allerston, near Pickering, whose members run dairy and arable enterprises, a caravan park, and construction company and other businesses.

John Simpson, who manages a fully organic farm on the edge of the North York Moors which is notable for producing a very wide variety of vegetables, is a finalist in both the Arable Farmer of the Year and the Farm Manager of the Year categories.

Jamie Wood, whose connection with farming started when he milked a few goats by hand at the age of 11, now runs Manor House Farm, Roxby, on the North York Moors, where he has sheep and cattle, including a Jersey herd which produces his own My Brown Cow ice cream.

He is a finalist in the Outstanding Achievement and Diversification of the Year categories.

Andrew Hitchon, editor of The Northern Farmer, said: “Our 2020 awards night will take place shortly after the start of a new decade, and during a momentous period of change for the whole of British agriculture, now we have officially left the EU.

“Much uncertainty still remains for the industry, but we will still be celebrating the very best that our region’s farmers can offer, and will continue to offer to meet all the challenges that may come in the days ahead.”

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.

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

The category sponsors are CF Fertilisers, Outstanding Achievement; Harrowells Solicitors, Diversification of the Year; Datamars, 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.