HRH Prince William and Bishop Graham presented Robert with his award and £1,000 cash prize at the Royal Norfolk Show on Thursday 29 June 2023.
Robert is studying the Crop Technician Level 3 Course at Easton College, and grew up just two miles away from Salle Farms, dreaming of working on the large machinery there. Within his application Robert took the time to go through many of the things Salle Farms currently do to limit their environmental impact. He explained his interest in field margins and their benefits, being heavily involved in their implementation at Salle through the Countryside Stewardship Agreement that the 2,750 ha arable farm is part of.
The Food & Farming Discovery Trust (FFDT) which is the education vehicle of the RNAA, undertook the shortlisting and judging of the competition.
“Growing up I’ve always had a passion for farming, agriculture and big machinery. I don’t come from a farming community family, but I grew up surrounded by countryside. Getting the apprenticeship was great, and now getting a full time job is a dream come true. In the future I’d like to help mentor other apprentices and do more with cultivation and drilling. I’m really happy and grateful to receive this award.”
Bishop Graham said:
“Robert is a worthy winner in the second year of this award. It was encouraging to see his interest in soil types, minimal tillage and cover crops and I wish him well as he seeks to pursue a career specialising in crop cultivation. It gives me hope in the future of environmentally conscious farming that seeks to enhance biodiversity. I am passionate about the care of God’s creation, and I’m delighted that Robert appreciates the natural world as much as I have in my life.”
The competition, in partnership with the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, was open to employees and apprentices, under the age of 21, who work for a Norfolk-based employer. Applicants needed to work within the land-based sector with their employment or apprenticeship focusing on one or more of the following areas: land management, conservation, countryside management, ecology, climate change management, forestry management and horticulture.
This prestigious award is an accolade which the winner can use to enhance their cv and help with future employment prospects. It will also raise the profile of land-based environment employment opportunities and apprenticeship schemes within Norfolk. It is an annual competition.