The Prince of Wales, 72, has won Farmers Weekly’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Environmentalist Charles, who set up the Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) in 2010 to support family farm businesses, said he was “surprised and extremely touched” to receive the honour.
Lord Curry of Kirkharle, chairman of the PCF, praised the royal for his passion for farming.
He said: “HRH cares deeply about a range of issues, but there’s none he’s more passionate about than family farms.
“He launched the fund because he was keen to do something practical and the PCF has since sponsored hundreds and hundreds of initiatives.
“He’s particularly keen that family farms survive and prosper because he knows they’re part and parcel of the fabric of our rural areas.
“They are the bedrock of the countryside – they’re why the landscape is the way it is and at the heart of our communities.
“He understands how interdependent all the different aspects of the countryside are and sees it holistically.”
Lord Kirkharle added that Charles is a “visionary” on issues such as climate change.
He said: “He’s a real advocate of agriculture, the countryside and the environment – and fully deserving of this award.”
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“He is a farmer himself and very knowledgeable, so is never happier than in a farmhouse kitchen or a village pub listening to farmers and finding ways to overcome any problems they may have.
“There are so many individuals whose lives he has touched for the better.
“When disaster has struck – during the horror of foot-and-mouth or the aftermath of floods – his innate kindness shines through and he has always been there to help.
“He is farming’s greatest ambassador – and he is extraordinarily prescient about what needs to be done to secure the future.”
In an article for Farmers Weekly to mark his win, which was announced on Sunday, Charles warned new approaches to farming are needed.
He said: “I have been doing what little I can to support farming communities and promote the importance of sustainable landscapes throughout a 50-year period that has seen enormous changes for everyone involved with producing the food on which we all rely.
“During that time, I have been constantly amazed and heartened by the resilience, adaptability and ingenuity of the family farms that still form the backbone (and quite a few other bones, too) of our rural communities.
“Yet it is all too clear that even bigger changes are needed as we transition rapidly – as we must if we are to survive – to a world in which sustainability becomes a central organising principle.”