Sacked farming minister becomes 2012 Farming Champion just weeks after losing post

EAST Cambs MP won the title of 2012 Farming Champion at a magazine’s annual awards - just five weeks after being sacked as farming minister.

Jim Paice, who lost his role as farming minister last month in Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle, won the accolade at the Farmers Weekly Awards last Thursday.

Farmers Weekly editor Jane King described Mr Paice as “a politician who has worked tirelessly to find practical solutions for British farming”.

She said: “Farming was all too often fobbed-off with political platitudes and left with no voice. But Mr Paice’s approach has been different.

“His knowledge of the industry as a working farmer has ensured that issues at the grass roots of farming have been championed at the highest of negotiating tables and tackled with guts and determination.”

Ms King also said: “A hard act to follow, Mr Paice has set a standard for other MPs, showing how a minister can work with an industry, challenge it, negotiate with it, but ultimately, move it forward to help it achieve its potential. He has proved to be farming’s Right Honourable friend.”

Another Cambridgeshire winner was Phil Baynes, from Wilbraham Farm, who was named Farmworker of the Year.

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The judges said: “Philip epitomises the very best attributes of the modern, 21st Century farmworker.

“He is technologically savvy and is dedicated and passionate in his role.”

The awards were held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.