The winners of this year's South West Farmer Awards were outstanding, showing extraordinary levels of passion, expertise and commitment.

Here's a little more insight into why the judges were especially impressed with them.

Gemma Smale-Rowland

South West Farmer:

The Outstanding Achievement award was presented to Gemma Smale-Rowland for her indefatigable work.

Gemma took over South Hellescott Farm near Launceston from her father, Michael.

She is the fourth generation to farm the land and her son is the fifth generation in the making.

Gemma is determined to encourage and inspire the next generation to farm, especially women.

She started one of the first milk vending machines in the country but her achievements go even further than her dairy farming.

She represents the south west on the national NFU dairy board and on the Red Tractor Dairy Technical advisory committee, as the sole farmer on the board representing all of the UK’s dairy farmers.

The Outstanding Achievement award was kindly sponsored by Cornish Mutual.

Mark and Emily Bury

South West Farmer:

Mark and Emily Bury of Eversfield Organic Farm, Okehampton, have been crowned Beef Farmer of the Year 2021.

They have more than 200 heritage breed Aberdeen Angus on 351 acres, 206 of which is pasture.

The farm is one of very few in the county to be both Pasture for Life and Soil Association Organic certified, as well as being SALSA certified.

Working with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Mark and Emily began rearing their own herd of native Aberdeen Angus cattle.

The couple particularly impressed the judges with their extensive conservation and environmental work.

Starting in 2002, the family spent two back-breaking years planting more than 30,000 trees, reinstating miles of hedgerows and laying fencing.

The Beef Farmer of the Year award was kindly sponsored by Harpers Feeds.

Matt and Pippa Smith

South West Farmer:

The winners of the Diversification Award 2021 are Matt and Pippa Smith of Trefranck Farm near Launceston.

Pip and Matt Smith launched Westcountry Premium Venison, in December 2019 from their family farm, which has been in Pip’s family since 1703.

Pip said: “In 2014 we took on the farm. My parents were beef about 35 suckler cows plus followers and 350 sheep.

“It was a clean slate my dad sold all his stock and we started fresh.

“We started with a new breed of sheep, we went for Romneys, Matt was familiar with the breed and their capabilities.

“Then in 2015 we decided to venture into deer.

“Originally the plan was to be small scale but that changed rapidly.”

“I think if you do things well, that’s when they become profitable, but our biggest focus has always been on quality.”

The Diversification Award was kindly sponsored by

Mark and Belinda Raymond with Jenny Rearden

South West Farmer:

Mark and Belinda Raymond, together with Jenny Rearden, from Neville Farm, Halstock near Yeovil, were jointly awarded the title of Sheep Farmer of the Year 2021.

The judges liked their belief in and practice of old fashioned values and quality.

They allow the lambs as much time and space as they need.

They don’t feed them artificial foods or try and push them, they just allow them to graze on lush herb rich organic pasture, the way that nature intended.

This care means that the lambs mature naturally and this results in incredible flavour.

There is a multi-award winning tannery on the farm which processes 1,000 of the farm’s own skins together with 1,000 from other farmers.

The Sheep Farmer of the Year award was kindly sponsored by Devon Duvets.

Lee James

South West Farmer:

Lee James of Halwill in Devon was named Apprentice of the Year 2021.

He said: “I was blown away to even be nominated for the award and it was a huge honour to go on and win it.”

All his work was completed to a high standard and Lee’s passion for his livestock was evident throughout.

In his final year of the Level 4 apprenticeship in Agricultural Business Management, Lee completed a full mock tenancy application for a Devon County Council farm, where he submitted a three-year business plan and set of financial statements to the council.

He was selected as the overall winner out of 14 students.

The Apprentice of the Year award was kindly sponsored by Duchy and Bicton College of the Cornwall College Group.

Emily Fleur

South West Farmer:

Emily Fleur of Okehampton is the winner of the Young Farmer of the Year 2021 award.

Emily is a highly driven and determined young farmer who has had to face immense challenges in recent years.

She said: “During 2016 I had two brain haemorrhages and being able to recover on a farm had a massive impact.

“I couldn’t have done it without the rural community support to step in and offer to help run the farm so family could be with me.”

Emily is a farmer’s daughter. She said: “From a young age wanted to be a poultry farmer and used to sell eggs at school and the farm gate.

“At the age of 14 I bought a camera and enjoyed photography as a hobby and decided to become an agricultural photographer by accident.

“With the support of the local community, I had the encouragement to take photography forwards as a dream job and found a real passion for it.”

The Young Farmer of the Year award was kindly sponsored by Coodes Solicitors.

Robert and Faye Wills

South West Farmer:

The winners of the Dairy Farmer of the Year are Robert and Faye Wills of the Wills Brothers Dairy in Wadebridge.

The judging panel found the farm to house a great example of a well-run large scale dairy enterprise, that is now some six generations old.

There are 1,600 pure pedigree cows that produce 14,000 litres of milk for Arla Cooperative.

The Wills were awarded Premier Breeder in 2020.

The dairy combines improved efficiencies to give livestock the best chance of good health from the start.

In fact, the dairy scores in the top two per cent in everything regarding herd management.

The livestock are kept stress-free and being able to diagnose quickly is of the upmost importance to the Wills, as is attention to detail that they provide.

This is what stood out for the judges, and why the Wills reputation is so impressive.

The Dairy Farmer of the Year award was kindly sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers.

David Oates

South West Farmer:

David Oates of Rosuick Farm in Helston was crowned the Sustainable Champion.

The judges found that David, a seventh generation farmer, demonstrates excellent results from this organic farm, implementing nature friendly, sustainable farming methods.

The panel noted his intelligent land management that, proven through continued surveying, benefits both nature and the output of the farm.

David has taken the organic beef and sheep farm from 600 acres up to 1,200 acres of owned and rented land, putting the majority into one mid-tier and three higher tier stewardship agreements.

Through these, plant life has tracked unparalleled biodiversity throughout the farm including the heathland, arable, grassland and woodland.

Much of the rented land is owned by Natural England and the National Trust. In these partnerships David has helped to create large scale management and landscape change plans which go far beyond his own land.

The Sustainable Champion award was kindly supported by FCN.

The Vanstone family

South West Farmer:

The Vanstone family won Family-Run Farm of the Year for their Milford, Rhude and Lanawood Farms in Holsworthy.

The family demonstrates a truly holistic approach with team mentality and a support network year round, utilising individual skills and strengths for the benefit of all.

The three Vanstone brothers started farming at Lana Farm, Holsworthy in the mid 60s with their parents, farming approximately 90 acres.

Today, although they each farm their own businesses, the families still work together as a big farming operation.

What is great about the brothers is that they have motivated the next generation to take on this legacy: Ian and John at Lanawood, Lucy and Liam at Rhude and James and Laura at Milford.

They say that their formula for success is to keep it simple, be flexible and don’t worry about the last half crown!

The Family-Run Farm of the Year was kindly sponsored by Shearwell Data.

If you would like to nominate yourself or another farmer for a South West Farmer Award 2022, visit