What a great honour to be invited to attend this year’s British Farming Awards. A lavish affair that I had only ever seen on television previously, as part of the BBC’s ‘This Farming Life’ first series. I remember watching the awards on TV and thinking what a nice way for farmers from across Britain to come together in what can otherwise be quite an isolated career. I also remember thinking, who knew farmers scrubbed up so well!
Not only was I invited to attend, but most shockingly I was also nominated for an award. I had been selected as a finalist for the ‘Digital Innovator’ award for my use of social media to interact with members of the public and for the development of my business website (www.MuddyBootsFarm.com), which I did all by myself *pats own back sarcastically*. This is despite receiving a U Grade ICT GCSE. I hope my teacher is reading this now! Sorry I would rather play hooky with my boyfriend instead of attend your lessons but look it has all turned out just fine, and I promise I was planning to complete the final exam but it was at 9 a.m. and you know I could never commit to early morning appointments!
Anyway, back to 26 year-old Katie, who has no choice but to get up early in the morning! The award ceremony this year was held in Birmingham in the NCC (not the NEC, as the rather useless taxi driver mistook it for on the way there). The venue was lovely and completely out of most farmers’ comfort zones, the red carpet leading to the venue entrance soon had muddy boot imprints across it and the champagne flutes being dished out to all guests were quickly replaced with pints of ale (though not many at those prices!). It had been a tricky few months down on the farm so a chance to get away from it all and be wined and dined with my fellow farmers was something I lapped up!
When nominated you are asked to bring a guest, and my Tinder plea rejected (undoubtedly a good thing), I resorted to good old-fashioned begging on Twitter *somebody love me please*. To which a fellow farmer and continuous liker of my slightly whiny tweets, Kit, responded with a ‘hell yes Sister count me in!’. Being me – slightly naive, a bit of a daredevil and terrified of attending such an event solo – I added her name to the guest list and we met up in Birmingham to drink free fizz and talk sheep – two of my favourite past times. Luckily Kit was not a serial killer, stalker or socially inept (they were my main concerns) and we spent most of the evening sharing sheep, men and life stories whilst enjoying a scrumptious three-course meal on a table of very talented farmers. The best part was after the ceremony where we met up with several infamous farming tweeters who were all extremely lovely and strangely I spent the next few hours introducing myself as @femalefarmerUK rather than Katie Anderson so people knew who I was!
Sadly I didn’t win my category but to be nominated as a finalist after only 9 months of farming and just 6 months of being open, really was an honour! More than that though I lost out to the amazing Will Evans who runs the fantastic Rock & Roll Farming podcast and hands down deserves the award for working hard and being once of the nicest guys I have ever met.
It was a fantastic event and I would just love to attend the 2018 awards, here are some pictures from the evening that I took. Or if you prefer to see images taken by someone not on their fourth glass of champers check out the Farmer’s Guardian.