THIS year’s Tidy Farmyard Awards in the South West have launched, offering cash prizes to farmers who have addressed common hazards on their farmyards.

The awards aim to promote farmyard safety in the south west.

A winner will be recognised in each county: Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Somerset. The winner in each area will be awarded £500. Farmers can nominate themselves. Neighbours, family members and friends can also make nominations.

Entries will be judged on four submitted photographs which show how common farmyard hazards have been addressed to reduce the risk of an accident.

The photos should show:

• How the farm and farmhouse are separated

• How machinery and equipment is stored

• That signage, warnings and marked routes are in place

• How potentially dangerous areas have been fenced off

Details of the award and how to apply are on a dedicated page on NFU Mutual’s website at

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony taking place across the four counties in south west England this spring.

The award judges are Stephanie Berkeley of the Farm Safety Foundation; Chris Roberts, NFU Mutual regional manager; Gwyn Barlow, NFU mutual risk management services; Nick Creasy, Devon Young Farmers Club and Rick Brunt, health and safety executive.

The initiative is being supported by NFU Mutual Risk Management Services and the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity set up by NFU Mutual to help farmers work safely.

“The awards were set up to showcase what can be done to make farmyards safer, and to reward farmers who have really gone the extra mile to make their farms safe,” said Chris Roberts, NFU Mutual regional manager for the south west.

“After seeing the success of last year’s competition in Northern Ireland, we were keen to run the event in the south west in 2019.

“As a mutual insurer which is closely connected with many south west farms, we are all too aware to the heartbreak farm accidents cause. Because most farms are homes as well as a workplace, there’s always a risk that we can become complacent about the hazards of large machinery working close to homes and children so we’re running an award scheme which will act as a reminder.

“Unfortunately, today’s farmers are under huge pressure to get work done, often alone, and familiarity does breed contempt when we do the same tasks day in day out – and eventually luck runs out and the result is all too often horrific injuries and fatalities.”

Stephanie Berkeley, who heads up the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “Farming remains a vital part of our economy, employing nearly 346,000 people, but it still has the highest fatal injury rate of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times higher than the ‘All Industry’ rate.

“Five farm workers lost their lives in the South West in 2018. These are not statistics, these are five families, friends and communities who are grieving for a loved one. We fully support the efforts of our funder NFU Mutual and their partners HSE and the YFCs in the South West to raise awareness of what a good farm looks like in Devon, Dorset, Cornwall and Somerset, helping to improve the health and safety of the local farming community.”