ENTREPRENEURIAL and innovative farmers have reaped the rewards of their ventures with accolades at the 2015 Northern Farmer Awards.

A ceremony attended by 430 leading agriculture industry professionals from across the North of England at Pavilions of Harrogate saw Robert McDonald, of Northumberland, land the overall Farmer of the Year title as well as the Dairy Farmer category.

Mr McDonald, who milks 720 Holstein cows three times a day, impressed judges with the scale of the expansion of his business and investment in technology, such as a 330-cow cubicle housing facility, incorporating automatic scrapers, rubber matter and green bedding.

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He said after receiving the award: “There are ten other people on the dairy side who should be standing here with me. It is a team effort.”

Other winners included dairy farmer Jonathan Sharp, of Oakworth, West Yorkshire, who scooped the Green Farmer title and Dominic Naylor, of Northumberland, who won the Farm Manager accolade.

Julie and Gordon Sedgewick, who farm 797 acres at Bishop Auckland, won the Beef title after impressing judges with their success in the show ring, while the Bailey family, of Hunton, Wensleydale, took the Sheep title.

Andrew Gloag, of Stokesley, North Yorkshire, scooped the Arable title for his traditional soil management approach, while also employing modern techniques and John, Judy and Simon Hare, of Brignall, near Barnard Castle, received the Family Run Farm award.

Newton Rigg College lecturer and sheep and cattle farmer Sarah Stobart, 22, received warm applause after collecting the Young Farmer Award and Ian Taylor, of Burton Leonard, near Harrogate, was given the Outstanding Achievement title after investing nearly £500,000 in his free-range egg farm.

Northern Farmer editor, Malcolm Warne, said it had become apparent farming was not going to get any easier and some sectors of the industry, such as dairy, were facing difficult times.

So, he said, it was important the industry shouted about its best practitioners.