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21 October, 2020

UCS student crowned Britain's Fittest Farmer 2020 champion

Agricultural Management Foundation Degree student, James Arney, has taken home the trophy, along with the cash prize of £1,000, for being the top male competitor at the ‘Britain’s Fittest Farmer’ awards.

The BFF final was held on Saturday 17 October at Farm Fitness, an outdoor gym run by farmer’s son Tom Kemp on his family’s arable unit in Essex.

The nine male and nine female finalists tackled a variety of punishing physical tasks designed to push their speed, strength and stamina to the limit.

The challenges included cross-country sprinting, lugging straw bales around, blasts on assault bikes, throwing heavy sandbags over walls, lifting up to 100kg above their heads and deadlifting as much as 120kg as many times as they could manage.

On being awarded the top prize, young farmer James Arney said: “It’s a great achievement – I came here to win it, and thankfully I did.

“Working and living at home sometimes can be quite tough just because it can be full on. So it’s quite nice to go to the gym, speak to other people and there’s a great community. For me, exercise is a great way to left some steam off and is good for my mental health.”

James’ family farm, in Rode, near Frome, contract-rears about 350 heifers after its dairy herd was sold three years ago. He trains five or six times a week, focusing on functional fitness, including running and cycling.

Britain’s Fittest Farmer was launched by Farmers Weekly as a fun way of sparking a vital discussion about the physical and mental health of the nation’s farmers.

It’s more important than ever before to make sure Britain’s farmers are getting the exercise they need to stay fit and healthy. Farming can also be a challenging and isolated job, which is why it is crucial for farmers to focus on their own mental health and wellbeing so that they can keep their business in tip-top condition, too.

Co-judge Tom Kemp said: “It’s great to see so many farmers and people from the agricultural industry homing in on their fitness and looking after themselves. 

“Their resilience and work rate is top-drawer, and they’re willing to take on any challenge and just get it done.”

Watch the video highlights of the Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2020 final.