Published on 12th March 2018
Guild members can take some simple steps to improve their chances of winning the £1,000 Red Tractor Public Engagement Award – which celebrates farmers who go above and beyond the call of duty to tell the story of UK food production.
Public engagement comes in many guises. It can include working with schools or hosting on-farm events for local people. And with huge digital audiences, campaigns can also include setting up websites or harnessing other online media.
The farmers behind these initiatives are those that Red Tractor Assurance celebrates by sponsoring the Guild's Red Tractor Public Engagement Award.
A relatively new accolade, the award is in its third year in 2018. Full details of how to enter are available by clicking here.
Few can deny that UK farming is going to need strong UK consumer support as we move into an unpredictable market with an increased likelihood of more, cheaper, imported food as the UK leaves the European Union.
“Moving forward we want the Red Tractor logo to be the flagship for British food and farming – it has to be a symbol that resonates with consumers as a sign of good standards of production,” says chief executive Jim Moseley.
“Clearly we have a huge role to play in communicating that message, but there are tens of thousands of farms who can do their bit. Through this award, we really want to highlight and support the great work that is already going on.”
Two Guild members have so far claimed the £1,000 top prize. They are Tom Allen-Stevens in 2016 and Caroline Stocks in 2017. Gemma Mackenzie and Charlotte Cunningham have each won £500 runner-up prizes.
Top tips for a top entry
Here are a few top tips from Red Tractor on how you can write a potential award-winner, or select a piece you have already written to enter.
- Make it inspirational – One element of the judging criteria is how likely the piece is to inspire someone reading it to get involved. Could your piece inspire a farmer?
- Look at companies not just individuals – Many businesses who work with, supply or buy from farmers have their own initiatives which encourage direct farmer engagement with the public.
- Dig deep – Some of the best examples of farmers who go above and beyond are those who don’t actively seek publicity – that’s not the reason they do it. While this makes it harder for journalists to find out about them, they often have incredible success stories to share.
- Digital and broadcast – The award has attracted dozens of entries in the past two years, yet none have come from a broadcast journalist. The award is very much open to radio and television pieces, as well as pieces of journalism that have been published in video format online.
- Not just assured – Some BGAJ members have held back from entering because their articles are not about Red Tractor farmers. Being farm assured or mentioning Red Tractor in the piece is not in the criteria – so don’t hold back.
- Aim for the moon and you might get the stars – Every year there is a runner up prize of £500 – not to be sniffed at.
Finally, feel free to get your entry in early. Don’t wait until 8 September 2018 (deadline day) to enter your article. Entries are open all year round so you don’t have to remember what you wrote all those months ago.