A SHROPSHIRE farmer made the shortlist for Dairy Innovator of the Year when the British Farming Awards were held in Droitwich.

Tim Downes from The Farm, Longnor, who milks 300 dairy cows and is widely recognised as a leader in organic dairy farming, is always looking to adapt and change to improve his farms profitability and sustainability.

Three organic dairy farmers collected top awards at the ceremony.

Winners of the Farm Partnership of the Year Award were Wil Armitage and Peter Dixon Smith, from Keythorpe Lakes Farm in Tugby, Leicestershire. The pair has worked together since 1990 when Wil joined the farm team, soon becoming farm manager in 1995. They have seen significant changes to the business throughout the last 25 years, in terms of expansion, joint ownership, and converting to organic.

The judges were impressed with the clear business split and evidence of how the partnership worked. They also commented on how Wil and Peter maintain a great dialogue and have a clear exit route.

John Pitts, from the Woodhorn Group in West Sussex was presented with the Silver Award for Diversification Innovator of the Year (Large). John Pitts operates the highly impressive Woodhorn Group, a business that is certified organic, currently farming more than 600ha and has a 240 dairy cow herd. The farm also has its own successful composting business and operates two recycling sites with a total capacity of 100,000t annually.