Two young farming families hailed as the future of the industry were recognised with awards presented at the Royal Manx Show.
Ean and Jo Parsons, of Baljean Farm, Laxey, were named as winners of the ‘Tomorrow’s Farmer’ award.
The couple captivated the judges with their enthusiasm to improve and expand their business, harnessing their passion for farming and the environment while firmly focusing on the requirements of their chosen market.
Meanwhile, the Special Award for a Young Farmer was awarded to Alan Teare and Rachel Ranson, of Ballakelly Farm, Andreas, who impressed the judges with their focused and positive approach to farming and belief in its future.
The winners of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s award, which was sponsored by Shoprite, were announced at a ceremony at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show on Friday evening.
John Speakman, a senior buyer with Shoprite and a member of the judging panel, presented the winners with cheques for £200 together with magnificent glass trophies and certificates.
The other finalists – Stuart Howard, of Moaney Moar, Cronk-y-Voddy, and Daniel Christian, of Ballakeigh Farm, Bride – were each presented with £50 cash and certificates and congratulated for making it to the shortlist.
Mr Speakman’s fellow judges were David Brew, vice president of the Manx National Farmers’ Union, and Chris Kneale, senior agricultural adviser with DEFA.
They visited each farm and assessed its efficiency and profitably, its focus on customers, its efforts to promote local food production, its plans to diversify the business and its conservation activity.
Richard Ronan MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘It’s important for the future of the economy and the environment that farmers are encouraged to look to the future, adapt and diversify.
‘Farmers are at the heart of all of this and I congratulate today’s winners for their vision, enthusiasm and hard work.’
Mr Speakman said: ‘Manx-produced food is important to our business and our customers and it is reassuring to know that there is a strong commitment to the industry’s future. I was particularly impressed by the innovation and determination showed by these forward-looking, commercially driven young people in the industry.’