The Institute of Agricultural Management, Farm Management Award is given to somebody who in the view of IAgrM Council, has demonstrated excellence in the field of farm management, or who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of management in the farming industry. The winner can be any person connected with farm management in the broadest sense.
The 2022 recipient of the award is Alan Spedding FIAgrM. Alan will be known to many members, having worked in the industry for 60 years.
His built his reputation working for the Southern Counties Beef Recording Society, part of Hampshire Cattle Breeders. When the beef recording groups merged, eventually to become part of the Meat and Livestock Commission, Alan became Senior Beef Specialist, running the Beefplan recording scheme which helped many beef farmers develop more effective systems.
He was transferred to manage the Beef Demonstration Unit at Stoneleigh, quickly establishing a reputation as an effective and insightful communicator.
He was approached by the Royal Agricultural Society of England to join them to handle membership services and conferences and the RASE Journal which he eventually edited.
When Alan retired in 2003 he had a chance conversation with Dr Gordon Gatward, then Director of the Arthur Rank Centre at Stoneleigh Park who was worried about the difficulty rural clergy, often with urban backgrounds, had locating reliable, impartial and concise rural information. This duly gave birth to the RuSource project – which still produces around 5 briefing papers every Thursday and more than 4,000 in total and which will be familiar to IAgrM members.
The Farming Futures project was formed in 2012 with the objective of locating and assembling information to help farmers find information to help them with their strategic decision-making. Alan became its first editor.
In his time Alan has been also been:
- Chairman of the Bristish Institute of Agricultural Consultants,
- Secretary of the Amenity Forum encouraging the Amenity Industry to take the herbicides they use more seriously,
- a judge of the Farmers Weekly Diversification Farmer of the Year Award and
- a Member of the Harper Adams University Validation Panel for MSc Agriculture courses.