Outstanding Contribution for Lord Curry at British Farming Awards

October 21, 2016

The Fund's chairman, Lord Curry of Kirkharle CBE won the Outstanding Contribution to British Agriculture at the Farmers Guardian’s British Farming Awards ceremony last night [Thursday 20 October].

Lord Curry, a British farmer and businessman was recognised for his service to agriculture at the awards which celebrate the best in creative thinking, innovation and dedication of Britain’s farmers.

He is best known for his role chairing the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food following the devastating outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001, reporting to Government in January 2002 and was responsible for overseeing the Government’s Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food until March 2009.

On receiving the award, Lord Curry said: “It is a huge honour to be given this award by my colleagues in the farming industry. From the first day I put on a pair of wellington boots all I ever wanted to do was farm so I left school at 16, against my father’s wishes, to work on our farm in Coquetdale – the rest is history! What a privilege it has been to have been involved, in so many fulfilling ways and what an incredible journey it’s been. I do hope I might be able to continue to inspire other young people to help make a real difference and take on leadership roles. We face lots of challenges over the next few years.”

Claire Saunders, director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund added: “I couldn’t think of a more fitting winner of this outstanding contribution award. Don’s experience and incomparable knowledge of the agricultural industry has been invaluable to the Fund and he commands the respect of his peers across the industry for the impact he has had.”

I couldn’t think of a more fitting winner of this outstanding contribution award. He commands the respect of his peers across the industry.

He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1997 New Year’s Honours list a for his services to agriculture and later received a Knighthood on 12 July 2001. He is also a member of the House of Lords and former chair of NFU Mutual and non-executive chair of the Better Regulation Executive.

On the recommendation of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, he was created a Crossbench life peer on 13 October 2011 taking the title Baron Curry of Kirkharle in the County of Northumberland. He was introduced in the House of Lords on 24 October 2011.

The Cumbria Farm Flood Action Group (CFFAG) also scooped a top honour by collecting the Farming Hero Award, which recognised the scale of their impact following the devastating floods across the region during December 2015. This award was decided by the Farmers Guardian’s editorial team.

Learning lessons from Somerset and previous Cumbria floods, the CFFAG undertook two specific pieces of work which were supported by The Prince’s Countryside Fund. First was a telephone and online survey of farmers affected by the floods to assess the scale of damage to farmland, buildings, boundaries, tracks and livestock which provided essential data to highlight the scale of damage.

Following this, farmers were helped in completing Farming Recovery Fund applications to meet the tight deadlines which enabled around 50 farmers to access over £380,000 to support their recovery. Through this work the group identified those in financial hardship or requiring other help to receive appropriate support from the farming help charities.

CFFAG is formed of the Farming Community Network, The Farmer Network, RABI, Federation of Cumbria Commoners, NFU, Foundation for Common Land, Forage Aid, Cumbria Agricultural Chaplaincy, Addington Fund, Westmorland Agricultural Society and Mitchells Auction.

Adam Day, managing director for The Farmers Network said: “Thanks to The Prince’s Countryside Fund’s immediate response to our emergency application, we were able to provide vital support to farmers who were most in need during these terrible floods. It’s been a tough road but the group can be really proud of the results we all achieved by coming together and it’s capped off by collecting this special award. Farm businesses need our ongoing support during these uncertain times so I hope this award encourages others to work together to help our rural communities.

The awards ceremony, which is now in its fourth year, was held at the Chateau Impney Hotel, Droitwich. Olympian Sally Gunnell OBE, a farmer’s daughter who hails from Chigwell, Essex, also attended as the guest speaker.