Farmer wins prestigious prize
A north Northumberland farmer is celebrating after being announced as the overall champion of the prestigious Tye Trophy Awards.
The trophy acknowledges successful commercial farming combined with sound conservation practice.
The competition is run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and attracts entries from across the north of England.
Alexander Izat, of Cocklaw Farm, Berwick, took the honours after winning the Northumberland area section and was presented with his award at the Great Yorkshire Show earlier this month.
Top of the judging criteria was the degree of integration of conservation into a well-run commercial farming system, and also evidence of future strategy in taking the measures forward.
In addition, the extent to which existing habitats and features have been retained, enhanced and managed effectively is taken into consideration.
Chairman of the judging panel, John Fenton said: “What has been achieved on this farm in the last 30 years is absolutely stunning. It was a blank canvas when Mr Izat took it over in 1987 with derelict farm buildings and he has transformed it.
“Tens of thousands of trees and hedgerow plants have been put in, as well as stone walling and ponds, one of which is particularly spectacular. It was a pleasure to see.
“I have been judging for six years now and the standard of entries this year was exceptional. Mr Izat was a very worthy winner.”
Mr Izat farms 430 acres, with a further 140 on contract, growing spring and winter barley, oil seed rape and vining peas.
High Cocklaw Farm is the amalgamation of three farms and when the family arrived, there were no trees.
Since then, they have redesigned the farms and planted 35,000 hedge plants and 30,000 trees, planting in corners and ensuring a haven for wildlife without impacting on the arable operation. Solar panels on the outbuildings provide energy for the farm.
Mr Izat was the Northumberland area winner and, as well as the trophy, he took home a cheque for £400, a set of crystal glasses and a certificate which were presented by the 2015/16 President, Sarah York.
Other regional winners were: South Yorkshire area winner – Richard Haigh, New Hall Farm, Mirfield, West Yorkshire; Tyne Tees area winner – Edward and Rachel Jewson, East Knitsley Grange, Knitsley, Consett, Co Durham; East Yorkshire area winner – Ian Hurst, Rosemount Farm, Weaverthorpe, near Malton; North Yorkshire area winner – Stewart Stark, Fridlington Farms Ltd, Well Lane, York.