The winner of this year’s Farmers Guardian Farming Hero has been awarded to The Cumbria Flood Farm Action Group.
Following the devastating floods caused by Storm Desmond in early December last year, Cumbria was left ravaged by damage as farmers battled against nature to save their homes, livestock and forage.
Around 1.15 million litres of rain fell on already sodden Cumbrian ground, leading to the worst flooding the county had seen in a lifetime, and 10 industry groups joined forces and pooled their expertise to offer the farming community a one-stop shop to facilitate and advise their road to recovery.
Representatives from the Arc Addington Fund, Cumbrian Chaplaincy, Cumbria Farmer Network, CLA, Farming Community Network, Federation for Common Land, Cumbria Commoners Association, Forage Aid, NFU and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) collected the final award of the night to rapturous applause.
Their collective support included financial support, assessing the damage, lobbying for the Farming Recovery Fund and mobilising tonnes of forage to be delivered to the worst hit areas.
Georgina Lamb, regional officer for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) and who spearheaded the campaign, says: “Storm Desmond and subsequent flooding lead to dark times for many farmers, some of whom are still feeling the effects.
“CFFAG tried to make life a little easier for those hit by directing them to help available and assisting them in accessing support. By pooling all our resources and knowledge, the group was a one stop shop for many.
“The Farming Hero award is an utter delight to receive but totally unexpected and we feel very proud at the resilience of our farming community.”
What the judges said: “CFFAG exemplify what the award symbolises - recognising a group of people who pulled together in the wake of a devastating storm, which affected so many farmers and communities.
“They pooled their resources, introduced a much needed practical focus and brought to the table their expertise and knowledge to find out the extent of the damage, what farmers needed and how they could help.
“The group also demonstrated resilience and a strength of spirit to address the challenges and make a hugely positive difference to the farmers and communities in the region.
“They have created a prototype which can be adopted in the future across all regions to help the farming industry when times of crisis strike.”