WHEN you imagine ‘a day in the life’ of a successful Cheshire dairy farmer, it probably wouldn't include entertaining 120 nine and 10-year-olds in the assembly hall of an urban primary school.

The same goes for co-ordinating TV news and press interviews in the National Farmers Union’s (NFU) ‘Let’s Talk Farming’ marquee at the Royal Cheshire Show.

But this is all in a day’s work for one Middlewich dairy farmer, Phil Smallwood, who has been honoured for his exceptional work by the NFU.

Phil, who is chairman of NFU Cheshire’s public relations committee, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Meurig Raymond Award for his tireless promotion of farming at public events and schools across the country.

He also hosts hundreds of teenagers and young people on his farm, and is a dedicated supporter of several farming charities including the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, and Farming Community Network.  

Phil, whose family have worked the land for three generation, said: “I feel that as a farmer, it’s really important to be getting out there and promoting the industry. That’s why I do what I do.

Northwich Guardian: Phil Smallwood (left) receives his award from former NFU president Meurig Raymond (right)Phil Smallwood (left) receives his award from former NFU president Meurig Raymond (right) (Image: NFU)

“You can’t expect other people to be doing it for you.

“It started more than 30 years ago when I joined the NFU, and when I got the promotional trailer the idea was to do about half a dozen events every year.

“Last year we went to 29 events and the diary’s already full for this year.”

Phil received his award on Tuesday, February 21, at the annual NFU Conference dinner, held at the ICC, Birmingham.

The award, named after former NFU president, Meurig Raymond CBE, was presented by current director general, Terry Jones.

Terry said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Phil has won this year’s Meurig Raymond award.

“The judges had the unenviable task of selecting one person, and from our eight fantastic nominees, Phil really stood out as the worthy overall winner.

“Phil’s one of those unsung farming heroes. When he’s not running his own farming business, he’s more than happy to provide an authentic voice as part of NFU campaigns; engaging with colleagues from across the organisation, with stakeholders, politicians or the media on a range of farming issues.

“Phil’s commitment and positivity in promoting British food and farming throughout his local community, across Cheshire and the North West, makes him a very worthy winner of this year’s award.”