A new awards scheme designed to recognise and reward women in agriculture has been launched.
The first ever National Women In Agriculture Awards is open for nominations in 12 categories, covering a broad range of areas where women are making their mark on the agriculture industry.
From 1 November, businesses and individuals can submit their nominations, which will be judged by a panel of female food and farming leaders who know the industry inside out, including Tonia Antoniazzi MP, a prominent supporter of food and farming.
The Awards will be held in May 2024 at a black tie event in the members dining room of the House of Commons. This prestigious venue has been chosen to reflect and celebrate the valuable work women in agriculture do.
The scheme is being run by Lewis Business Media, which organises other farming events including the National Pig Awards, National Egg & Poultry Awards and the National Arable & Grassland Awards. It is being sponsored by Nestlé UK and Ireland, HSBC, Morrisons, the Co-op and Noble Foods. Any businesses keen to get involved and sponsor the event should contact Nadia Tweedie-Walker on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The judging panel is being chaired by Chloe Ryan, a food and farming journalist. “I am so excited to be launching a scheme specifically designed to celebrate the work women in agriculture do. We are delighted to be supported by major national and international brands that are sponsoring the event and share our enthusiasm for the purpose of the awards. Feeding the nation is vital, but often gets less recognition than it deserves. At such a tumultuous time for agriculture and the wider economy, this scheme will shine a light on the brilliant women and businesses steering the industry through.”
A spokesperson for principal sponsor Nestlé UK and Ireland, said: “We have been working directly with UK farmers for many years and have always recognised the incredible work that is done every day by our female farmers. This effort is sometimes not fully recognised outside of the farms, which is why we are very proud to sponsor these awards and help shine a light on the amazing work done by female farmers in the UK.”
Sophie Throup, Technical and Sustainability Director – Manufacturing, Morrisons, who will serve on the judging panel, said: “A diversity of views, ideas and ways of working is absolutely key to help deliver on so many areas in farming, from producing tasty British food to caring for our environment and helping consumers understand where their food comes from. At Morrisons, we know the value of diversity and work hard to provide more opportunities for women to progress. That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting these new awards, recognising female talent in agriculture, and in particular, those rising stars who are coming forward to help secure a bright future.”
Martin Hanson, Head of Agricultural Banking at HSBC UK, said: “HSBC UK has a dedicated team providing specialist financial support and guidance to farmers and growers when they need it most. Our network of agriculture managers understand that many of the most successful agricultural businesses we work with have diverse leadership teams, and as such we’re delighted to be reinforcing the importance of this in the farming sector by supporting the first Women in Agriculture Awards.”
A spokesperson for Noble Foods said: “At Noble Foods, we’re proud to be part of the National Women in Agriculture Awards because we believe in celebrating the remarkable contributions of women in the agricultural industry. Their drive, innovation, and resilience are integral to the growth and success of our sector, and we are committed to supporting and empowering women in agriculture to thrive and inspire future generations.”
The 12 categories open for nominations are:
Sustainability Champion of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Award
Farming Woman of the Year
Supply Chain Woman of the year
Rising Star of the Year
Agricultural Influencer of the Year
Agricultural Advisor of the Year
Employer of the Year
Innovator of the Year
Training and Education Woman of the year
Trade Organisation Woman of the Year
Business of the Year
Full details on how to enter can be found on the website: www.nationalwomeninagriculture.co.uk.