A Northumberland farmer is celebrating after being announced as the overall champion of the prestigious Tye Trophy Awards, which acknowledges successful commercial farming combined with sound conservation practice.

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The competition is run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and attracts entries from across the north of England.

Alexander Izat, of Cocklaw Farm, Berwick-on-Tweed took the honours after winning the Northumberland area section and was presented with his award at last week’s Great Yorkshire Show (on Weds 13 July).

Top of the judging criteria was the degree of integration of conservation into a well-run commercial farming system, and also evidence of future strategy in taking the measures forward. In addition, the extent to which existing habitats and features have been retained, enhanced and managed effectively is taken into consideration.

Chair of the judging panel, John Fenton said: “What has been achieved on this farm in the last 30 years is absolutely stunning. It was a blank canvas when Mr Izat took it over in 1987 with derelict farm buildings and he has transformed it. Tens of thousands of trees and hedgerow plants have been put in as well as stone walling and ponds, one of which is particularly spectacular. It was a pleasure to see. I have been judging for six years now and the standard of entries this year was exceptional. Mr Izat was a very worthy winner.”

Mr Izat farms 430 acres, with a further 140 on contract, growing spring and winter barley, oil seed rape and vining peas. High Cocklaw Farm is the amalgamation of three farms and when the family arrived, there were no trees. Since then, they have redesigned the farms and planted 35,000 hedge plants and 30,000 trees, planting in corners and ensuring a haven for wildlife without impacting on the arable operation. Solar panels on the outbuildings provide energy for the farm.

Mr Izat was the Northumberland Area winner and, as well as the trophy, he took home a cheque for £400, a set of crystal glasses and a certificate which were presented by the 2015/16 President, Mrs Sarah York.

Other regional winners were:

West & South Yorkshire Area Winner

Richard Haigh, New Hall Farm, Mirfield, West Yorkshire

Tyne Tees Area Winner

Edward and Rachel Jewson, East Knitsley Grange, Knitsley, Consett, Co Durham

East Yorkshire Area Winner

Ian Hurst, Rosemount Farm, Weaverthorpe, near Malton

North Yorkshire Area Winner

Stewart Stark, Fridlington Farms Ltd, Well Lane, York


20 July, 2016

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The Yorkshire Agricultural Society, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, N. Yorkshire

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was established in 1837 with the primary purpose of holding an agricultural show and for the furtherance and support of farming in the region. This ethos continues today, through its flagship events, the Great Yorkshire Show (Tues 11 – Thurs 13 July 2017) and Countryside Live, (Sat 22 and Sun 23 October 2016). 

Year round it has an active programme of events and activities supporting the farming and rural communities, particularly in the North of England. These include its Future Farmers of Yorkshire group, the Farmer-Scientist Network, the Yorkshire Rural Support Network and an extensive range of education activities aimed at increasing young people’s knowledge of the important role British farmers play in producing our food and managing the landscape.

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About Us

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was formed in 1837 and is a charity dedicated to supporting the farming industry and rural life. Best known for staging the annual Great Yorkshire Show, England's Premier Agricultural event and Countryside Live, it's sister event. The value of the support it provides to regional farming and countryside initiatives has risen year on year to nearly £1m. The 2016 Great Yorkshire Show runs from Tuesday 12 – Thursday 14 July and Countryside Live is on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October 2016. Both take place at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and are flagship events for agriculture and rural life. The Society plays a key role in supporting rural life, through grants, sponsorships and has a very active education department which runs a wide range of activities aimed at increasing the knowledge of young people and their teachers about the important role farmers play in producing our food and caring for the landscape. An important date on the annual calendar is the annual Countryside Days event when thousands of primary school children use the showground as a resource for learning. In June 2009, the Society also opened its Regional Agricultural Centre at the showground which will be a focus for excellence for the industry, as well as the new home of the Society. Yorkshire Event Centre Limited (YEC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Society and all YEC’s profits go to fund its charitable work. Who's Who in the Yorkshire Agricultural SocietyChairman: Simon TheakstonPresident: Sarah YorkPresident Elect: Lord MiddletonChief Executive: Nigel Pulling