OUR farming awards have received royal backing.

The annual Three Counties Farmer Awards are being supported by the Duchy of Cornwall, managed by Prince Charles.

The Duchy has strong links to Herefordshire through the Guys Estate in the county, which it considers it's 'jewel in the crown'.

The Duchy is this year sponsoring the Fruit/Hop Farmer of the Year Award in what is set to be a bumper year for the awards.

A steady stream of entries mean we already have a record number of nominations, with weeks to go before the nominations deadline on September 18.

But in this year of Covid we want to make sure all those in the agricultural sector who have done such outstanding work are recognised.

The awards highlight best practice, and that matches the focus of the Duchy.

It's primary job is to to provide an income from its assets for the heir to the throne.

It has large holdings in Dartmoor and 258 farms, smallholdings and other farmland and woodland it lets out.

Prince Charles has made it a priority that the estate "applies environmental and agricultural good practice within its overall management approach and to consult local communities about the style of proposed development activities".

The agricultural estate consists of arable and livestock farms.

The Guy’s Estate extends to some 4,620 hectares consisting predominantly of Grade 2 land, with equal small amounts of Grade 1 and Grade 3 land. It covers some 15 miles from the southern end at Ross-on-Wye to just north of Hereford. There are 130 tenancies.

The Guy’s Estate added to the Duchy’s presence in Herefordshire where it already owned the Cradley Estate, some 749 hectares close to the Worcester border.

Entries close on September 18. Categories are: Sheep Farmer Award; Farm Conservation; Cattle Farmer; Family Run Farm; Pig Farmer; Young Farmer (under 25); Poultry Farmer; Farming Hero; Arable Farmer; Farming Contractor; Fruit/Hop Farmer; Outstanding Achievement.

This year’s awards ceremony takes place in November in the form of a digital live broadcast and includes a star-studded array of stars either hosting or dropping in with special messages.