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Date Published: 06/06/2023

Institute member Will Oliver was announced as the winner of  the 2023 Registrant Newcomer of the Year award at the 2023 SocEnv Awards on June 6th.  The award recognises professionals who have really hit the ground running, having achieved REnvP, REnvTech or CEnv registration since the start of 2022. 

Will is a fourth generation farmer from Leicestershire, working with his family to run a diverse farming business.  He has a degree in Agriculture and Crop Management from Harpers Adams University and spent his placement year on an onion farm in Essex before spending three months in New Zealand.

Will believes the future is bright for British agriculture but believes businesses need to be diverse and spread risk to succeed. A new poultry unit provides 2000t of manure a year, reducing the reliance on bagged fertiliser, which is hugely beneficial during the volatile climate.  Other new enterprises include a storage company, glamping and a wide range of lettings, from domestic properties to fishing lakes.

He understands he is one of the first farmers to have CEnv registration but suggests more farmers should be moving in this direction with food production and the environment inextricably linked and increased focus on environmental management.

“Despite working on a family farm and so unlikely to look to move on to another business, I want to continue to develop my CV and it is good to gain a broader perspective.

“Farming is coming under great pressure to make changes to improve the environment, but we need to make sure that any changes are beneficial and not just enforced.  The more farmers who are able to put across balancing arguments the better, and CEnv can certainly help with this.

“When I engage with the public, for example talking to guests at the glamping business, the chartered status is seen as a plus, something reflecting greater credibility.   It has also helped with some recent planning applications we have made, seen as a positive by the authorities.”

When asked if he would advise anyone else to apply for CEnv registration, he says why wouldn’t you do it.  “It gets you out of your comfort zone and greatly extends your networking circle which is really important as the industry faces greater scrutiny.  Being Chartered give more weight to the industry voice when putting farming’s case across.”