The 2024 Northern Farmer Awards take place on Thursday, February 22, and we're profiling the finalists in the build-up up to the big day.

The winners across ten categories will be announced at a spectacular awards ceremony at Pavilions of Harrogate, the Great Yorkshire Showground.

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

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

The Northern Farmer: Northern Farmer Awards 2024: Dairy Farmer of the Year finalists

James Emsley, Cumboots Farm, Scarborough

Cumboots Farm, Scar-borough, aims to be a forward-thinking, innovative and community-focused dairy farm in today’s rapidly evolving agricultural landscape.

Under the leadership of its dedicated owner the farm has set clear objectives for the future and taken steps towards achieving these goals.

The Northern Farmer: James Emsley, Cumboots Farm, Scarborough,

One of Cumboots Farm’s standout achievements is the use of a milk vending machine which allows customers to access their farm-fresh milk directly at the source. This innovative approach not only reduces food miles and plastic waste but also supports local farmers and small businesses. By offering pasteurised, non-homogenised and non-standardised milk in reusable glass bottles, Cumboots Farm has rekindled the nostalgia of old-fashioned pure milk with a creamy layer that customers adore.

The farm’s small herd of free-range cows graze outdoors. The farm’s innovative environmental system for managing dirty water showcases their dedication to protecting their surroundings and the wider environment.

Read more: Finalists revealed for 2024 Northern Farmer Awards

Cumboots Farm’s diversification efforts include selling Longhorn beef in their own shop as well as a successful foray into the campsite and glamping sector.

The farm is also actively collaborating with other farms by supplying milk to another farm shop further down the coast, showcasing their community-oriented approach.

Acorn Dairy, Archdeacon Newton, Darlington

For four generations, the Tweddle family has been dairy farmers at Garthorne Farm, Archdeacon Newton, Darlington, demonstrating a dedication to their craft and a commitment that spans almost a century.

The Northern Farmer: Acorn Dairy, Archdeacon Newton, Darlington

In response to the growing public interest in food quality and traceability, the family converted Garthorne Farm to Soil Association organic status in 1998. This forward-thinking decision reflects their dedication to sustainable farming practices and delivering high quality, organic produce.

With the help of a fantastic team the family revived the tradition of doorstep deliveries, bringing fresh organic dairy products directly to local towns and villages. This commitment to providing local, organic produce directly to consumers emphasises their dedication to community and quality.

Acorn Dairy’s range of organic products, including milk and cream, has grown increasingly popular due to consumer concerns about pesticide use, antibiotic residues and animal welfare.

Through a network of distributors, Acorn Dairy has expanded its reach beyond the local area.

The Tweddle family not only meets consumer demands but also contributes positively to sustainable agriculture, minimising the use of harmful chemicals and promoting animal welfare.

They have an enduring legacy of excellence in dairy farming, adapting to changing consumer needs, and a dedication to providing high-quality, organic produce.

Ross Johnson and family, Low Whinholme Farm, Northallerton

Low Whinholme Farm, Northallerton, showcases innovative practices in dairy farming with the integration of robotic milking systems and rotational grazing.

The Northern Farmer: Ross Johnson & Family, Low Whinholme Farm, Northallerton

Most farms milking with robots choose to keep cows in all year round, but the Johnson family has adapted a grazing system to work with its herd and three robots.

The family works hard to improve cow health, increase milk yield and implement sustainable methods. The strategic use of technology, such as the DeLaval VMS 310 robots, and the design of a grazing system that allows cows to access fields on rotation, demonstrate a forward-

thinking approach to dairy farming. The family’s focus is on maximising cow comfort, allowing them to graze outdoors and facilitating a natural environment. Their attention to cow health indicators – such as SCC reduction, decreased mastitis cases and improved foot health through innovative solutions like the chemical-free footbath – underscores their commitment to animal welfare.

The Northern Farmer: The 2024 Northern farmer Awards take place on February 22

The herd milk yield has risen by 300 litres per cow per year.

Ross, who manages the farm in partnership with his father and uncle, says: “We invested in three VMS 310 robots and have 155 milkers on them currently. We wanted to keep the herd out as much as possible, so have worked with DeLaval to design a system of gates that see the herd use a series of tracks to access fields on rotation. We want all the cows to feel the sun on their backs, get fresh air and a break from the concrete,” he said.