Best farm diversifications being sought in Suffolk and Norfolk

BALE awards: Last year's winners
BALE awards: Last year's winners
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Suffolk Agricultural Association is looking for the best farm diversification businesses in its annual BALE awards.

The deadline for the awards is September 16.

The awards recognise all types of farm diversification – whether they be wedding and event venues, holiday accommodation, food or drink enterprises, tourist attractions or, as a finalist last year, a farm producing sawn willow lengths for some of the world’s finest batsmen and women.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on October 24 at Trinity Park, Ipswich.

The awards were launched 22 years ago by the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) and are backed by long term sponsors solicitors Ashton KCJ.

The early perception of diversification was as an area for the farmer’s wife to establish a secondary business.

Now diversification is a way of life that contributes considerably to annual turnover

Last year’s winner, pig farmer Peter Havers of Athelington Hall, near Eye, turned part of his site into a venue for Log Cabin Holidays and a wedding marquee business.

He realised the farm would not generate enough income

to sustain his family unless he changed how he used the land.

The Award recognises the entrepreneurial skills of East Anglia’s farmers and is open to farmers from across Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

As well as prizes for first and second place in the competition, there is also a special category for bst newcomer and a special award for the Best Green Practice.

Jonathan Long said:”Ashton KCJ is delighted to be sponsoring the BALE award once again this year.

“We are pleased that BALE will be part of the annual agricultural awards dinner for the second year running, giving the award the profile it deserves.

“We have seen time and time again how bringing in professionals, such as solicitors, enables farmers and landowners to diversify and set up new and exciting ventures without taking anything away from their farming business.

“I am always astounded by the high quality and sheer variety of the entries we receive each year and look forward to this year’s judging process.”

The entry fee is £20 and entries are judged on their commercial, creative and practical merits, as well as their contribution to the regional economy.

Executive Director of the SAA, Christopher Bushby said: “The BALE Award is now regarded as the region’s premier farming diversification competition and it is an opportunity to publicly applaud the enormous entrepreneurial spirit and success of our region’s farmers.”

Entry forms can be downloaded at or email