ENTRIES are now open for a competition recognising the hard work and dedication of west Dorset farmers.

The Melplash Agricultural Society’s farm competition gives the framers that care for the land an opportunity to be recognised for their hard work and dedication as they grow and produce the food we eat.

The competition is open to farms and small holdings of all sizes within a 12-mile radius of Melplash village church.

The categories include small farm of 199 acres or less, medium farm of 200 to 599 acres, large farm of 600 or more acres and best managed specialist dairy farm.

Each farm entered is visited by a team of judges who walk around the farm to look at the husbandry of crops and the livestock, how well the environment is cared for, the maintenance of machinery and fixed assets amongst others. They also talk to the farmer to find out how they manage their business, looking at profitability, use of resources and what their plans are for the future. Special awards are given in each category for conservation and environmental practises and for the best ley.

This year the competition is being sponsored by Woolley and Wallis estate agents, chartered surveyors and auctioneers.

Jo Sage, chairman of the Melplash Agricultural Society, said: “The farms competition is a huge part of what the Melplash Show Society is all about.

“It is a chance for all farmers, big or small, to proudly show their achievements and the results of all their hard work.

“We would welcome new farms to enter again this year. it is a very friendly competition and the judges are all involved in farming and totally understand real farming life.”

The competition is free to enter and judging will take place on July 1 and 2.

Trophies will be awarded to the winners of each category at the Melplash Show on Thursday, August 22.

For more information and an entry form, visit www.melplashshow.co.uk or call the show office on 01308 423337.