The build-up is well underway for the 2024 Northern Farmer Awards, with the glittering ceremony due to take place a week today.

The winners will be announced on a special night at Pavilions of Harrogate, the Great Yorkshire Showground, on Thursday, February 22.

Also to be revealed will be the overall 2024 Northern Farmer of the Year, chosen by the panel of judges from the winners of the ten categories.

Last year, the top award went to Peter and Gladys Stubbs of Brown Jug Farm at Kinninvie, near Barnard Castle, in County Durham, whose stand against rural crime 30 years ago grew into a major Farm Watch scheme.

Appalled by rising rates of thefts in their community, the couple began patrolling the local area at night and encouraged family, friends and other local farmers to get involved.

The Northern Farmer: Gladys and Peter Stubbs, 2023 Northern Farmers of the Year

The Stubbs co-ordinated everything long before the use of mobile phones, emails and social media, with their efforts leading to the creation of Teesdale and Weardale Farm Watch. The scheme has been such a success that it has since been expanded throughout County Durham and adopted in other parts of the country.

Speaking after they received a standing ovation from the 400 attendees at the awards, Mr Stubbs said: “I would sincerely like to thank everyone in this room for making this a magic night.” Mrs Stubbs added: “I want to say thank you to all the members of Farm Watch who have run with us – we couldn’t have done it without them.”

The Northern Farmer: The 2023 crop of Northern Farmer Awards winners

The 2024 awards will be hosted by Christine Talbot, award-winning TV presenter and journalist, who fronted the nightly ITV Calendar regional news show in Yorkshire for 20 years.

Northern Farmer editor Hannah Chapman said: “Our awards are always such a special night, and give us the opportunity to shout about all those across the region working so hard to help feed the nation.

“We have another excellent crop of finalists in 2024, so we can’t wait to get together and celebrate their many achievements.

The Northern Farmer: The 2024 Northern Farmer Awards take place on Thursday, February 22

“With such a wet winter, and continuing concerns about the impact of the new ELMS payments on farm incomes, it’s more important than ever that we highlight outstanding farms large and small, and the many good things going on in the industry.”

Mole Country Stores continue their support of the awards as principal sponsor. “Huge thanks must go to all our wonderful sponsors for backing the awards again,” said Hannah, “including our principal sponsor Mole Country Stores. They are helping us to recognise the brilliant work going on across our region and we are very grateful for their support.”

The 2024 categories and finalists

Family Run Farm of the Year, sponsored by Yorkshire Agricultural Society; 

Karl and Mandy Avison, Top Bridge Farm and Cedarbarn Farm Shop, Pickering; Sowray family, Brook House Farm, Terrington; Thompson family, Softley Farm, Butterknowle.

Farm Manager of the Year, sponsored by Thorpe Trees, York;

Jonathan Fryatt, Lightwater Farms, Ripon; Euan Fraser, Croft Farms, Croft-on-Tees; Ellen Fairbank, HArewood Estate, Leeds.

Arable Farmer of the Year, sponsored by White Rose Agriculture Ltd;

Tom Sanderson, The Grange, Topcliffe; Simon Robinson, Headlam Farms, Darlington.

Dairy Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Lely, LC Longtown Ltd;

James Emsley, Cumboots Farm, Scarborough; Acorn Dairy, Archdeacon Newton, Darlington; Ross Johnson and family, Low Whinholme Farm, Northallerton.

Young Farmer of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual;

Annie Stones, Nun Cote Nook Farm, Marrick; Emily Hall, Scargill Farm, Barnard Castle; Stuart Brown, of Foggathorpe.

Diversification Award, sponsored by H&H Group plc;

Adrian and Ella Foord, Lawnsgate Farm, Lealholm; Ed Towers and family, Brades Farm, Farleton; Jamie and Nicola Wood, Prendwick Farm, Alnwick.

Sheep Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Harper Adams University;

Nicola and Nigel Foster, Birch Bush Farm, Forest-in-Teesdale; James Burns, of New Brotton, Saltburn; Simon Stott, of Laund Farm, Preston.

Beef Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Carr's Billington;

Graham Walker, Break Hill Farm, Rainton, Thirsk; Wilkinson family, Ivy Farm, Leyburn; William Barker, Greylands Farm, Hinderwell.

Women in Agriculture, sponsored by George F. White;

Annie Stones, Nun Cote Nook Farm, Marrick; Alisha Lack, Malton; Nina Hildreth, Curlew Fields Dairy, Hessay.

Outstanding Achievement, sponsored by Askham Bryan College;

JF Hudson Ltd, Newton-le-Willows; Emma King, Poultry Health Services, York; Shepherds Purse Cheeses, Leachfield Grange, Thirsk.

Overall Northern Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Mole Country Stores.