The Countryside Alliance Awards have sailed pass the 3,000 nomination mark, making this their most successful year ever.
Members of the public keen to support the rural economy and local farmers have been nominating, but with a month still to go until nominations close, people are being urged to get involved.
The awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are now in their eighth year.
They were set up to celebrate the characters, produce, traditions and enterprise of the countryside through the people who work so hard to make it tick.
Since the awards were launched, hundreds of rural businesses have been recognised across several categories – they are seen by many as the rural award to win and tell a positive story about British grit, determination and hard work.
Previous finalists from the county include Lancaster Farm Shop in Higham Ferrers, Shop@Stanwick and butcher CR Potter & Sons, both in Stanwick.
Countryside Alliance Awards director Jill Grieve said: “This has been a hard year for the countryside.
“The bad weather has affected the harvest and the cancellation of many country shows have seen the rural economy put under increasing pressure.
“I think the public is responding to that and really wants to celebrate the hard work and dedication that rural businessmen and women put in, often under the radar.
“The Rural Oscars give people a way to support rural business and the response has already been exceptional.
“We are also seeing support from more Parliamentarians than ever before – they want to support the businesses in their constituencies and the Countryside Alliance Awards give them a platform from which to do that.
“We are still a few weeks away from closing to nominations, so I would urge everyone who supports their local small businesses to get involved and tell us about them.
“We can all play a part in boosting the rural economy.”
Nominations can be made online at www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk until October 29.
The categories are local food, village shop/Post Office, enterprise, butcher and start-up award (for a businesses trading for 18 months or less).