ENTRIES for the inaugural Three Counties Farming Awards have now closed.

We have seen a last-minute flurry of entries from enterprises who are all worthy representatives of our magnificent agricultural industry in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Among them is Boddington Estates, a 600-hectare estate in Gloucestershire farmed in hand and managed by farm and estate manager Andrew Walters with a small but experienced team. It is nominated in the arable farmer category. The estate has recently undergone a profound strategic change, but after investing in staff and equipment has seen productivity go up and profits return.

In Herefordshire, Ian Pugh has been nominated in the farming hero category for resurrecting the Merry Millers, a team of cricketing farmers from the 1970s who are now the inspiration for dinner dances that raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Mike Pratt, from Worcestershire, is nominated in the young farmer category. With help from family and friends, he has been instrumental in setting up a charity at his farm to provide a activities for people with learning disabilities.

The judges will soon start sifting through entries to the awards as anticipation builds ahead of a gala dinner at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, on Thursday, June 13, at which the winners will be revealed.

Categories include sheep, cattle, pig, poultry, fruit/hop and arable farmer of the year, as well as young farmer, farming contractor and farming hero.

Awards will also be presented for the best family-run farm and best farm exhibiting sustainability and diversification.

The awards are being organised by Newsquest Media Group, publisher of the Three Counties Farmer, and its sister newspapers and websites the Stroud News and Journal, Gloucestershire Gazette, Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard, Worcester News, Hereford Times, Malvern Gazette, Ledbury Reporter, Evesham and Cotswold Journal, Tenbury Wells Advertiser, Kidderminster Shuttle, Bromsgrove Messenger, Redditch Advertiser and Droitwich Advertiser.

The headline sponsor is Harper Adams University. Visit www.herefordtimes.com/awards/tcf/ to find out more.