Farm business management skills were under intense scrutiny in the 2021 Pinnacle Awards judged in the club this autumn.
Responding to the challenges of declining support payments, was a key theme in the 2021 Farmers Club Pinnacle Awards for farm business management students.
Sponsored by the Cave Foundation and run with consultancy firm ADAS, this prestigious competition drew entries from colleges and universities across the United Kingdom.
The overall winner was Harry Davies of Harper Adams University, with Jacques Luckins of Bridgwater & Taunton College placed second and Rory Oliver from Newcastle University third.
The competition champions realistic projects and people capable of driving rural businesses forward in uncertain times, with the judges keen to see in-depth plans to help farms cope with Basic Payment cuts, backed by a strong awareness of cashflow, profit and capital, and how they link together.
After a bit of a hiatus last year, caused by the COVID pandemic, the awards returned to a more normal format this year, with interviews, presentations, an awards ceremony and celebration dinner all held in the Club in September.
Jimmy McLean, chair of the judging panel, commended the finalists for their dedication in a difficult year. “With studies disrupted, and students unable to meet farmers and lecturers face-to-face, this year’s projects have been more difficult to develop than usual. It really is a tremendous achievement to get to the finals.”
The judging panel also included ADAS principal business consultant Tony Turner, Farmers Club Chairman and Kelso farmer Keith Redpath and farmers club journal editor Charles Abel.
Key criteria for the awards are precise project reports, with a succinct explanation of the business case, backed by robust financial analysis. “Some of the home truths around declining support are going to be very difficult to swallow for many farm businesses, so projects do need to look at this and where we are going as an industry,” noted Mr Turner.
The keenly contested competition saw ADAS draw up a shortlist of eight entries from 15 submitted, with finalists interviewed in the club in mid-September. Choosing the winners was not easy, the judges deliberated for over an hour before arriving at a final decision.
See finalist report at: www.thefarmersclub.com/library/pinnacle-awards-reports