The Yorkshire Post says: Rural champions. Proud to celebrate best of the very best

YORKSHIRE'S farming and food heritage is emblematic of a county which prides itself on having a world-renowned agricultural industry. Not only is it synonymous with excellence, but its resilience is also one of its most admirable qualities.

Bill Cowling, left, received a lifetime achieve award at The Yorkshire Post's Rural Awards. It was presented by Tom Watson of Cundalls.

Farming, like other industries, has had to adapt to change, but, in doing so, public awareness – and appreciation – about local produce, and its unrivalled value, has never been greater and this, in itself, bodes well for the future.

Yet, just as The Yorkshire Post is now spearheading a Love Your High Street campaign to support those independent shops and small businesses in the region who, in many cases, are fighting for their future existence, this newspaper is equally proud of its annual Rural Awards which continue to go from strength to strength.

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It’s right that this sector is cherished and celebrated in equal measure – this Government, like its predecessors, is guilty of taking the rural economy and farming for granted – and the winners, showcased in today’s Country Week supplement, represent the very best of Yorkshire produce and hospitality.

The winners of this year's Rural Awards staged by The Yorkshire Post.

It was also entirely fitting that the lifetime achievement award was presented to Bill Cowling. A successful farmer, he has also enjoyed a 40 year association with the Great Yorkshire Show – most recently as its president – and has done more than anyone to showcase his industry and, where necessary, fight its political battles.

And it is thanks to Mr Cowling, and all those who follow his tireless example, that Yorkshire has a farming and food sector which is the envy of the world.