The Prince of Wales has been named as the recipient of Farmers Weekly’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. The award is given to an individual who has made a unique and special contribution to agriculture.
Countryfile Presenter, Adam Henson, announced Prince Charles as the recipient in a virtual awards ceremony. He described Charles as an ‘advocate for British farming’ who’s been ‘raising awareness of issues affecting it and championing its successes’.
Speaking in a pre-recorded video message, The Prince of Wales was ‘surprised and touched’ to be receiving the award and downplayed ‘his inadequate efforts of the years’.
“Now it’s encouraging to think that I might have made a difference to some of the issues I mind about, but the point I really want to make is that I have not done any of these things alone,” the Prince commented. “Whenever something has been achieved it is because I’ve tried to bring people together to recognise the case for action. And then everyone has worked hard to make things happen.”
“So in accepting this award, I want to acknowledge above all the people who cared as much as I did about the same issues, I can not possibly name them all but they know who they are and I hope they are as proud as I am of what we have achieved together.”
The Prince of Wales continued: “Now I’m sure some people will be wondering if there is any underlying principle in what I’ve been trying to achieve or to put it another way was there any method in my madness? Well, yes there was, and indeed there still is.
“I happen to care passionately about trying to help the cause of sustainable farming wherever and however it is possible.”
“To me that means farming that respects balance and natural limits understand the importance of diversity and help farmers in rural areas to thrive through producing healthy, nutritious food, while maintaining and developing the distinctive landscapes that make this country so special.”
He spoke of his admiration for ‘those farming families who know their own land intimately’, which gives them special insight into how best to manage crops or livestock. He called that experience and knowledge ‘irreplaceable’.
Speaking via video on the first night of the digital Farmers Weekly Awards Show, The Queen’s son paid tribute to those who offer niche food products.
“Specialist food producers occupy a similarly important place in the community, particularly in the face of a sometimes overwhelming, fashionable drive for homogenisation. That is why as patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, for instance, I found myself all those years ago, battling to help a whole new generation of determinately courageous artisan cheesemakers overcome some of the early obstacles they encountered.
As ever, the Royal was conscious to correct charges about his quirks. “Despite occasional suggestions to the contrary, I’m not against progress and I welcome new ideas and new technology provided they are used thoughtfully and appropriately as tools to achieve an aim rather than as something to displace or subjugate the natural processes that should sit at the heart of agricultural practice,” the future King said.
“I also happen to believe in behaving as though we are the first generation to try and make a living from the land with careless denigration of the hard-earned wisdom of our forefathers and disregard for the precautionary principle and the lessons of history.”
Congratulations to our Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, @clarencehouse for winning a lifetime achievement award from @farmersweekly’s annual #FWAwards for his work as an “advocate for British farming, raising awareness of the issues affecting it and championing its success”. https://t.co/TWfV5vpysP
— Garden Organic (@gardenorganicuk) February 8, 2021
“Now Ladies and Gentleman as we look to the future, I firmly believe that the most constructive and profitable path for agriculture in this country will be through telling a unique story of high standards of environmental sensitivity, animal welfare and food quality while stressing local provenance, native breeds and sustainable management.
“To me, this niche approach plays to out undoubted strengths, as an island nation, as opposed to struggling to compete in global commodity markets.”
In his acceptance speech, the future king noted how created one of the earliest organic food brands – Duchy Originals – in 1990. The Prince hoped the products would ‘benefit the environment, family farmers and raise some money’ for charity.
In a recent interview with Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, Charles told listeners how he became involved in organic farming due to the ‘mounting concern about what I thought was the overuse of chemicals and artificial fertiliser, made from fossil fuels, the over use of antibiotics, the overuse of growth promoting hormones in beef production and the overuse of mono-culture cropping systems’.
Prince Charles, who has been an advocate for environmental issues for many decades and mentioned his Farmers Market Initiatives, which included a Mutton Renaissance Campaign, and even in the textile sector, with the Campaign for Wool.
It’s fantastic to see FCN’s Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales, has received @FarmersWeekly‘s Lifetime Achievement Award! Congratulations @ClarenceHouse and to all those receiving #FWAwards https://t.co/s4BUcHO62P
— The Farming Community Network (@FCNcharity) February 8, 2021
“Well, I mean, the extent to which any of this has made a difference is not for me say but I really am most grateful for this award.”
The Prince of Wales concluded his speech by quoting George Washington: “It reminds me I suppose that at the end of the day agriculture should be, as George Washington said, the most helpful most useful, and most noble employment of man.”
Head to the 8-minute mark to watch the segment on Prince Charles’ win