A Dorset couple were finalists in this year's Young Organic Farmer/Grower of the Year Award

Sophie and Tom Gregory operate an organic dairy business on a 400 hectare rented farm in Dorset. The panel of judges were impressed by their emphasis on soil health which has included trialling alternative soil management strategies, and the introduction of a potentially valuable composting system. The use of productive, multi-species leys and slot seeding clover in the longer-term pastures is the basis of the all-grass system for their 360 Irish/Friesian organic cows.

This is the second year of the award organised by Organic Research Centre (ORC). The other finalists this year are Adam Payne and Dee Butterley who run a 10 hectare smallholding growing vegetables on an orchard-based agroforestry system in Pembrokeshire; and Alex Parkinson a farm manager for RBOrganic in Norfolk, one of the largest organic carrot growers in the UK, who was the eventual winner.

Lucy MacLennan, ORC’s CEO, said the quality of entrants for this year’s award was extremely high: “They each operate in very different ways, but they all share a passion for organic farming and demonstrate all the skills required to make a success of their business.  As the need to embrace organic farming methods becomes ever more evident if we are to combat climate change and address biodiversity loss, we are so proud of our finalists for the difference they are making.” 

Roger Kerr, CEO of OF&G added: “We are very pleased to be hosting the YOFY Award ceremony this year. NOC has always aimed to provide a platform for the organic community to come together to meet, share, discuss and demonstrate organic food and farming in action. What better way to celebrate this than through highlighting the work of these young farmers and providing the recognition they so richly deserve.”