The Countryside Alliance have announced that Devon based firm Yeoman Haylage, a family run business who produce top quality ryegrass haylage near Tiverton, have been shortlisted to win a Rural Oscar in the Rural Enterprise category in their 2020 annual awards. If Yeoman Haylage go on to win the South West title, they will be invited to attend a Champions Reception at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on 10th June to compete in the national final against fellow category winners from seven other regions around the country.
Yeoman Haylage will now provide more information on their business objectives followed by a visit from the judges who will find out at first hand, what makes Yeoman Haylage worthy of being crowned the champions. Winners of each category will be announced in May.
The Awards are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food & farming, enterprise and heritage through their small hard-working businesses. The awards are now in their fourteenth year and have become the definitive rural business award to win. They 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. The awards received over seventeen thousand nominations this year so Yeoman Haylage has done extremely well to be shortlisted.
Yeoman Haylage is a family run business started by John Bosley and joined by his daughter and son-in-law Liz and Nick Shepherd. With roots in farming and horses going back to the 1950’s when John’s father was Champion amateur jockey, 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, 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 as Shropshire. Their haylage is used by some of the top names in equestrian sports including Olympic eventing rider and Tokyo hopeful, Kitty King from Chippenham.
Countryside Alliance Awards Director Sarah Lee commented: “We have been overwhelmed by nominations this year. The secret to the Rural Oscars’ popularity is that they honour the people involved in these businesses and not just their produce or services. They exist to sing the praises of those who work hard to keep our communities and rural economy ticking, but don’t seek the spotlight. These awards provide a cause for celebration in a time of great uncertainty in the countryside. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition.”
John Bosley commented “To hear initially last November that we had been nominated was a wonderful surprise but to find out that we are now Regional Finalists and are actually shortlisted for a Rural Oscar is beyond our wildest dreams. We are very grateful to everyone that sent nominations into the Countryside Alliance and who spoke so highly about us and our business. Customer satisfaction is always at the core of what we do.”