HEREFORDSHIRE'S magnificent farmers have received the plaudits they so thoroughly deserve.

They were hailed for their innovation and hard work in the face of the coronavirus crisis at a celebrity-studded online ceremony.

The Hereford Times Three Counties Farming Awards were streamed for the first time this year on the Hereford Times Facebook page.

A huge audience logged on to enjoy the show, which was hosted by BBC Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, who himself farms in the Cotswolds.

He led several guest celebrities, including National Farmers Union president Minette Batters, in paying tribute to our award finalists.

Hereford Times:

Others who appeared included TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle, actor Clive Mantle, Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas, and meteorologist Sian Lloyd.

The event, which moved from its usual format of a black-tie dinner to online because of social distancing regulations, was hailed a success by finalist and Outstanding Achievement Award winner Ian Pugh.

Ian, the man behind the Merry Millers group which has raised £150,000 for charity in the last seven years, said it was "wonderful" that the awards had gone ahead given the difficult circumstances.

"I thought it was very good for the Hereford Times to have organised it and the celebrities were great. Someone has done a lot of work, and well done to them," he said.

Hereford Times editor John Wilson said the team at the newspaper has been determined that the event should go ahead, despite coronavirus.

"The Hereford Times has since its launch in 1832 been a loyal supporter of the agricultural industry.

"The industry is part of Herefordshire's identity, and is key to the prosperity of the wider county," he said.

"We feel privileged to be able to organise events like this where we can say thank-you to some very special people."

He also paid tribute the event's sponsors, without whose support the awards would not have been possible.

Categories winners were:

Arable Farmer, EA Davies and Son; Cattle Farmer, David Thornley; Family-run Farm, H&E Rudge; Farm Conservation of the Year,

Oxton Organics; Farming Contractor, Colin Warne; Farming Hero (and Outstanding Achievement Award) Ian Pugh; Fruit/Hop Farmer, Simon Parker; Pig Farmer, Weobley Ash Meats; Poultry Farmer, Lee Baxter; Sheep Farmer, Frank Lloyd; Young Farmer, Imi Manning.

The Three Counties Farming Awards 2020 video is available to watch here:

And don't miss our award winners souvenir special in the Hereford Times on Thursday, December 10, where you can find out more about our champion farmers.