Louth farmer announced as an NFU’s Community Farming Hero

A Louth farmer has been announced as a Community Farming Hero by the NFU after being nominated by his local MP, Louth & Horncastle’s Victoria Atkins.

Victoria Atkins MP with Ian Watson of Louth Park Farm.
Victoria Atkins MP with Ian Watson of Louth Park Farm.

Ms Atkins showed her support for British food and farming on Back British Farming Day on Wednesday, recognising the vital role farmers in Louth and Horncastle play in feeding the nation.

This year, the NFU has introduced the Community Farming Heroes award to celebrate the farmers who have gone above and beyond for their local community.

Ms Atkins nominated Ian Watson of Louth Park Farm to be an NFU’s Community Farming Hero, and he was announced as the East Midlands regional winner.

Mr Watson was nominated for the vital role he played in delivering a farm fire training programme and developing an adapter that enables fire crews to gain access to on-farm water bowsers, helping to save lives, property, livestock and crops.

Ian helped design the adapter and raise funds for its rollout, with the aim of equipping all of Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue’s 48 fire engines in Lincolnshire with his adapter.

The need for the training and adopter were required this summer in the extreme temperatures than caused many wildfires, and one such fire just outside Louth was six metres away from losing 150 acres of standing crop and a grain store, and had the fire not been controlled, it would have also caught a large propane tank which would have endangered lives and four properties close by.

Fifteen farmers with water bowsers and tankers turned up to assist Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and with the adapters sponsored by Alford and Louth, they were able to access over 72,000 litres of water within a few minutes.

The group is now looking to extend the scheme across the East Midlands, and then nationally.

Victoria Atkins MP, said: “I am proud to have helped secure the funding needed to roll out this device to the 48 fire engines in Lincolnshire.

"I hope and trust other rural fire services will follow Lincolnshire’s lead after their MPs have heard about the work being carried out in our county.

"I would like to thank Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service, the Louth & Alford NFU branches and Rhonda Thompson, County Adviser for Lincolnshire, for their work in developing the adaptor and vital fire safety training. And I congratulate Ian on becoming the NFU Hero Community Award for the region.

"I look forward to continuing this work so that communities across the country can also benefit from this lifesaving initiative.”