The winners of the South West Farmer Awards 2019 have been announced.

Farmers from across the region swapped their wellies for heels and overalls for tuxedos to find out who had been crowned the winners of the coveted awards at the Somerset County Cricket Ground in Taunton on Thursday, November 7.

Steve Smith, editor of South West Farmer said: "The South West Farmer Awards are our way of celebrating the region's outstanding farming community.

"Our farmers are so committed and dedicated to producing the highest quality food, so it's great to have the chance to show them our appreciation."

The event was held in support of the Farming Community Network, with a raffle raising proceeds for the charity.

Stephen Dennis speaking on behalf of the charity addressed the guests: "You are all winners tonight. What's interesting in the environment we're in is to see people who've been through a degree of adversity get where they need to go.

"Many of you have had to come through some very challenging, difficult times and all credit to you for doing that.

"It's encouraging for us all to get away for a night and do something that we normally wouldn't do."

At this fourth annual award ceremony eight awards were given to outstanding farmers from all across the south west.

Jake Freestone from Tewkesbury won the Farm Manager of the Year (supported by Farming Community Network) for his strong links to the local community.

Sheep Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Greenslade Taylor Hunt) was awarded to Mark Raymond from Yeovil. Mark's great work with the mixed flock and dedication to strict health criteria and pasture management impressed the judges, as did his excellent diversification through the tannery.

Mark Thomas from Launceston was crowned Beef Farmer of the Year (sponsored by NSF) with his impressive dedication to raising standards not just on his farm but on others, too.

Dairy Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Progiene Dairy Hygiene) was awarded to Roland and Gerald Ley from Holsworthy in recognition of their considerable results through continually raising standards and keeping animal welfare in focus.

Family Run Farm of the Year (sponsored by Mole Valley) was won by the Smale family from Launceston. The judges found the family to be a truly close-knit team paying attention to both physical and mental well-being of family and staff members that are all keen to represent UK agriculture.

In an especially competitive category it was Lucy James from Holsworthy that was awarded Young Farmer of the Year (sponsored by Coodes) for her clear vision and determination, as well as her understanding of consumer demands.

This year's Diversification Award (sponsored by Cornish Mutual) was won by Chris Lerwell and Kingsley Nichols who run an abattoir in Ilfracombe. The judges noted their great community links and impressive results that demonstrate a mutual benefit for the abattoir and community.

Finally, the award for Outstanding Achievement (sponsored by Cornish Mutual) was won by Penny Connorton for her work with The Veterans Farm-Able Foundation in Buckfastleigh. Her support of men and women with post-traumatic stress disorder through farming and help for them in finding transferable skills is an immensely valuable service for veterans, their families and for agriculture.

More than a hundred guests attended the black tie awards ceremony at which the winners were announced.