The annual Countryside Alliance Awards are now open to public nomination and Yeoman Haylage based near Tiverton were delighted to receive an unexpected letter recently to say they had been nominated for a ‘Rural Oscar’.
The Awards, now in their 15th year, have seen thousands of outstanding small hard-working businesses recognised, and are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food & farming, enterprise and heritage culminating at a Champions’ Reception at the House of Lords’ in Parliament in London on June 10th 2020 with MPs, Ministers & Judges present.
The Awards are set apart from other award schemes because they are driven by public nomination, offering customers the chance to tell them why their favourite businesses are worthy of national acclaim. Judges will not just be looking for evidence of great produce, customer service and innovation, but stories of how businesses serve their communities too.
Yeoman Haylage is a family run business started by John Bosley and now joined by his daughter and son in law Liz and Nick Shepherd. With roots in farming and horses they take pride in producing top quality ryegrass haylage for the equine industry, grown on the rolling Devon hills at Thongsleigh Farm near Tiverton. Since starting in 1999, so popular is their haylage, that John, Liz and Nick have seen demand increase and their business grow as they distribute their haylage from the South West to the South East, throughout Wales and areas stretching as far North as Shropshire and is used by some of the top names in equestrian sports including Olympic eventing rider Kitty King from Chippenham, a hopeful for the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Amongst the key priorities for this innovative business is to fully endorse keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum and to support the local economy by buying their grass seed, machinery, bale wrap, materials and equipment needed from local suppliers and employing their staff, they recognise as being vital to the success of their business, also locally including their Agronomist who ensures the quality is spot on. Customer Service features high on their list of priorities as John, Liz and Nick like to make sure that everyone has their delivery on time and is 100% happy with the product putting in long hours including weekends. As a retired college lecturer in Agriculture, John is keen to share his expertise on farming, encouraging young people to seek a career in farming and takes college students on placement.
Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. They were set up to provide a voice and a platform for the rural businesses that form the hearts of their communities. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition, so please get involved and nominate today.”
John Bosley commented: “Liz, Nick and I were delighted to find out that we had been nominated for a Rural Oscar. We love what we do and go to great lengths to make sure our haylage is of the best quality. Customer satisfaction is everything to us and we are proud that we support our own local economy here in Devon by using all of our local suppliers in the South West. Testament to the product we are so proud of is that our customers repeatedly tell us how much they love the quality of Yeoman Haylage and how much their horses and ponies enjoy it. This is why we do what we do.”
If anyone would like to support John, Liz and Nick in the Rural Enterprise category, nominations can be made online until 8th December at: https://www.countryside-alliance.org/rural-awards/caawards