A celebration of our rural communities - entries open for the 2021 Yorkshire Post Rural Awards

For all of us this has been a year of unprecedented change but while it has undoubtedly had its challenges, it has also been a year of innovation and ingenuity.

The Yorkshire Post is immensely proud to be a friend of our farming and rural communities and this year we will be celebrating the extraordinary achievements we have seen in the rural community in a year which along with a global pandemic, has marked the biggest restructure of agricultural policy since the Second World War.

The 2021 Yorkshire Post Rural Awards which will take place in October, features 12 categories which aim to champion the businesses, individuals, volunteers and innovation we have seen over the past 12 months.

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For while it has been a time of enormous change, the UK’s departure from Europe, which has brought with it new Agriculture, Trade and Environmental Bills and Covid-19 which wiped out the farming calendar, it has also been a time where we have seen some unexpected positives.

Entries have now opened for the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards which will take place on October 8.

Early on farmers were classed as key workers, highlighting the importance of the job they do. Farm retail outlets and producers diversified, sometimes overnight, to provide safe ways to shop and brought a new understanding to many on the benefits of a short supply chain.

There is still a challenging road ahead with the new Environment Land Management scheme still sparse on detail which has a knock-on effect for businesses looking for the right way to invest for a sustainable future as well as the long-term effects of Covid-19 being unknown.

Rural businesses have shown time and again they can and will adapt to create a sector which can thrive and The Yorkshire Post will continue to be a voice for the countryside.

James Mitchinson, Editor of The Yorkshire Post, said: “Yorkshire is undoubtedly a rural powerhouse.

The Yorkshire Post Rural Awards celebrate the achievements of rural communities, whether businesses, individuals or volunteers.

“Our food and farming businesses contribute more than £100bn to the national economy and have shown their strength throughout the pandemic. We are lucky to have a rural industry and communities which have been the backbone of our region’s economic might and social vibrancy for centuries.

“Under unprecedented circumstances, rural Yorkshire has shown the entrepreneurial talent, innovative ideas and community spirit which will see it thrive as we look to a new future for farming and the countryside.

“Our 2021 Rural Awards will spotlight the incredible feats that are being achieved by businesses, individuals and groups in the countryside right now. Help us to champion rural voices by entering the awards and let us tell the story of your successes which deserve to be told, shared and celebrated in style.”

The awards are being supported by leading rural organisations and for the first time we welcome the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) as our headline sponsor.

The BASC are headline sponsors for the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards supporting rural communties

“As an important voice in rural Yorkshire, BASC is extremely proud to be sponsoring, for the first time, the Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s Yorkshire Post Rural Awards,” said Duncan Thomas, BASC Director of the Northern Region.

“We are delighted to be involved in this important showcase of the rural and farming communities and very much look forward to the event in October.”

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society is supporting the Farm of the Year category and Charles Mills, Great Yorkshire Show Director, said: “We are proud to celebrate and support farmers after what has been an incredibly tough year.

“The hard work and resilience of the agricultural industry has shone through as farmers have worked tirelessly to ensure the supermarket shelves were stocked and the public were fed through the pandemic.

“We would encourage as many of you as possible to enter the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards.”

Sponsoring the Sustainability/Environment Award is CPRE, North Yorkshire chair Jan Agar said: “The trustees are proud to sponsor the Environment Award to celebrate those who have continued to champion and safeguard the environment throughout such a challenging year.”

We are also delighted to welcome Ryedale Auctioneers who will be sponsoring the Farm Shop of the Year Award.

Categories - a full list of category criteria can be found on the Yorkshire Post Rural Award website: yorkshirepostruralawards.co.ukFarm of the Year - Sponsored by Yorkshire Agricultural Society

Young Farmer of the Year

Rural Innovation of the Year

Rural Tourist Attractions and Hospitality

Rural Business and Professional Services

Diversification Project

Farm Shop of the Year - Sponsored by Ryedale Auctioneers

Rural Hero

Sustainability/Environment Award - Sponsored by CPRE

Food and Drink Producer of the Year

Equine-based Business of the Year

Lifetime Achievement Award - Sponsored by BASC

How to enter

To see a full list of categories and entry details for this year’s awards go to the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards website: yorkshirepostruralawards.co.ukClosing date for entries and nominations will be midnight Monday, August 30 2021.

The awards dinner will take place at The Pavilions, Harrogate on Friday, October 8 2021 hosted by journalist and broadcaster, Harry Gration.

Tickets for the awards dinner are also on sale through the Yorkshire Post Rural Awards website.