A HEREFORDSHIRE farming business is celebrating success at top industry awards as it scoops to accolades.

Henry and Esther Rudge from Ballingham Court, near Ross-on-Wye, came out top in two classes at the annual Farmers Weekly awards.

The agricultural magazine's awards were held earlier this month online due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the county farm being crowned environmental champions and mixed farmers of the year.

Farmers Weekly said: "Esther and Henry Rudge show a true aptitude for business. They actively look for new opportunities and follow market trends to benefit their diverse farming unit.


"They also have a strong focus on their environment and local community, with a real passion in the way that they farm.

"The mixed farmer of the year award was sponsored by Massey Ferguson. English farmer, author and television presenter, Adam Henson hosted the awards over five nights live on Facebook, IGTV and YouTube.

"This year, due to the Covid-19 restrictions the Farmers Weekly Awards took place as an online show. Five episodes screened from Sunday, February 7 to Thursday, February 11, and are still available to watch on YouTube or www.fwi.co.uk/show. The awards are presented to the best farmers in the country."

The spokesperson added: "Protecting and enhancing the environment is core to the Henry and Esther Rudge’s farm management, actively looking for environmental and financial innovations to benefit their farm ecosystem.

"Esther and Henry Rudge show real commitment to their natural surroundings, making them worthy winners."

The farm was also shortlisted for the Three Counties Farmer awards, run by the Hereford Times, in 2020.

Esther Rudge runs Ballingham Court as a family partnership with her husband Henry and their son Monty, who has recently joined the business after studying at agricultural university Harper Adams.

Mrs Rudge is the fourth generation of her family to farm the 450-acre site after she took over aged 16. Along with her family, she was nominated for the family run farm of the year award.

From apple orchards and an anaerobic digester, to ewes and 120 acres of arable crops, the family has a range of interests.

But on top of that, Mrs Rudge said they look after the south Herefordshire countryside they farm.

“The farm has been in environmental schemes for over 20 years," she said after being nominated.

"We are privileged to farm in a beautiful area on the banks of the river Wye. We have planted wild bird covers, pollen mixes and buffer strips.

“We have planted 10 acres of new woodland to provide a wildlife corridor across the middle of the farm and have planted over four kilometres of hedges. We have won the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) farm of the year on three occasions for our outstanding contribution to the Wye Valley AONB.”

The family had also planted grass on flood plains and invested heavily in renewable energy.