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Wonder no longer! Running for the eighth time, the Bayer/FACE Awards celebrates the best of British agricultural education, recognising those who have made a significant and noteworthy impact on helping people understand the importance of farming and the countryside environment.

The Awards culminates in a scrumptious ceremonial lunch in London where the winners of the five award categories – Access Award, Biodiversity Award, Future of Farming Champion Award, Farm School Partnership Award, and Inspiring Educator Award – will be announced in September.

To help you decide on whether or not to apply, we invited some of the 2015 category award winners from the Bayer/FACE Awards 2015 to share with us the positive effect this has had on their initiatives, and ultimately on raising awareness of farming and countryside education in their surroundings.

Graham Ward OBE and host of his on-farm education initiative ‘STC Research Foundation: Discovering Science on the Farm’ was the winner of the Inspiring Educator Award.

'‘Farms and Schools do not move!  Those of us working with children tend to operate quite locally.  The Countryside Classroom offers some interaction but there is nothing like personal networking to exchange views, expertise and reinvigorate ones project.

Exercise, good diet and self-belief are the cornerstone reasons for our national obesity problems, all these are part of the farm/pupils visit, but also the inspirational seeds are sown to follow a rural career.

Learning also applies to ourselves, and the Bayer/Face Awards gave us the opportunity to compare and network with others, to further build and hone our efforts at home.

It is a very gentle competition with lots of hand holding from your local FACE enthusiast. The big event, the lunch with the anticipation of winning an Award creates the buzz. It’s Your Award!  It is a great recognition of your team and adds a new dimension to your local efforts, which as part of the bigger national picture, ensure farming and food remain touchable and a real experience for our children.

I encourage you to have a go, it’s a great feeling to get the invite to the ceremony but then if you win its fabulous.’’

Julie White wrote to tell us her reflections on winning the Access Award as part of her team membership of the WELLIES Project.

‘’We decided to take part to gain recognition for the WELLIES project and to raise awareness of the positive impact of care farming.

The awards ceremony was a lovely event and we felt very inspired by the other nominated farms and projects. All in all a great experience!’’

Finally, Claire Morris of The College Farm and previous winner of the Farm School Partnership Award wants you to know that even when a submission may seem daunting to begin with, it is totally worth it!

‘’The deadline for the submission of the entry form is fast approaching and you are asking yourself is it worth taking the time to fill out the application form?  I say do it, do it now, you won't regret it for a second.  Here at The College Farm we were lucky enough to win the Farm Partnership Award in 2015 for our work with Long Crendon Primary School.  I didn't imagine that we'd actually win, but thought we had a good story to tell, plus we were really proud of the visits we were delivering.  The deadline came in the middle of lambing and calving here, so it was a bit of a struggle to find the time, but as my old Headmaster used to say, 'You only get out what you put in'. So true!

Winning has given us instant accreditation- we can now market ourselves as 'Award Winning'. We've been able to add this to all our marketing avenues and instantly we have a peer review.  Winning has definitely increased our profile and made us more visible to schools who didn't previously know that we existed.

It was incredibly satisfying to be given such a prestigious award from our peers, awarded by FACE which really knows about school visits, so it means so much. 

As for the award day itself, it was a totally amazing experience- to be looked after so well and to get the chance to meet other inspiring farmers and educators was a day never to be forgotten. We were treated like film stars!  So all you need to do is fill in that form...’’

So, here’s a link to that precious form http://www.visitmyfarm.org/farmers-resources/357-awards . You have until 14 April 2017 to submit your application! And even better there is something new for you to explore this year with the option to submit a two minute video, in addition to your application, using your smartphone. This gives you an opportunity to highlight in action why you think you deserve an award. Click here for some top tips from us on how to make a video - good luck!