A YOUNG farmer from Herefordshire who wants to pursue a broadcasting career has just been named the best agricultural student at a top industry awards ceremony.

Fourth-year student Ben Chilman accepted the Farmers Weekly award in front of a packed audience of farmers and industry representatives at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

The 22-year-old juggles his agriculture with farm business management studies at Harper Adams, Shropshire, with working on the family mixed farm in north Herefordshire, near Presteigne, and hosting his own farming podcast.

His ambition is to run the farm when his parents retire and the podcast, EweTurn, has been praised for its light-hearted but candid conversations about agriculture and important industry issues such as mental health.

The podcast started after he noticed the difficulty many farmers were having during the coronavirus pandemic, when contact with other people was severely limited.

So the EweTurn podcast, started with friends Ted and Nog, aimed to promote the importance of good mental health and talk about the support available.

EweTurn podcast hosts Ted Davies, Ben Chilman and Nick Rogers

EweTurn podcast hosts Ted Davies, Ben Chilman and Nick Rogers

"We've been taken aback by the support the podcast has had and we've been able to champion and support mental health charities, particularly the DPJ Foundation with our links to Mid-Wales," he said.

The fortnightly episodes are averaging 1,000 listeners and the podcasters hope to have hit 50,000 downloads by Christmas.

He said it has been a challenge to juggle recording and editing with his other commitments, but he makes it work by planning his week thoroughly and sticking to his timetable.

"Every time I hear a story from a listener about how the podcast has helped them, provided a bit of a release or just the enjoyment of listening, it makes it feel worthwhile," he added.

He also regularly appears on Radio Hereford FC as a commentator and admits he would love to present Countryfile and is eager to pursue a broadcasting career.

Mr Chilman finished his second year with an overall average first grade before going on to complete his third-year work placement with the Co-op as an agricultural marketing co-ordinator.

"I was passionate about ensuring that the Co-op listened to what our farmers had to say, adapting our farming producer groups to suit them," he said.

Despite the challenges of working remotely for large parts of the placement due to the coronavirus pandemic, he proved to be a real asset to the Co-op.

He led on several projects to promote British produce, as well as deliver farm training to supermarket colleagues.

Ag Student of the Year independent judge and farm manager Alex Dunn said after the awards on October 7 that Mr Chilman impressed with his enthusiasm for British farming and support for rural communities.

"His podcast shows what an effective communicator he is – which is an increasingly important skill to help promote our industry," Mr Dunn said.

Mr Chilman has previously been awarded the 2018 NFU Mutual undergraduate award, and has won the Pinnacle Award, a national award for farm business management students held in conjunction with ADAS and The Farmers Club.

The Ag Student of the Year award is sponsored by Oxbury Bank. English writer, comedian, and actor Russel Kane hosted the Farmers Weekly Awards, an annual event which recognises the best in British farming.