THE search is on for Britain's top smallholder. Country Smallholding magazine, in association with Life-Guard domestic poultry feed, has launched an exciting national competition offering a cash prize of \u00A31,000 to the winner.The competition celebrates the dedication of smallholders as self-sufficiency becomes ever-more relevant at a time of great change and uncertainty in the countryside, and the winner will be a smallholder judged to exemplify best practice and have an inspiring vision.Editor Simon McEwan said: "These are exciting times for smallholders, and we hope this competition will help to raise their profile as interest in self-sufficiency increases and the grow-your-own revolution gathers pace."The self-sufficiency movement is increasingly in the national spotlight. The boom in the sale of chickens, and concern about chicken welfare, has added to the interest. "Smallholders, once perceived as being peripheral figures in the food chain, now have a key role to play here, and are a model of how to produce your own healthy food at a time of increasing concern about food security."Entrants in the competition will be asked about a range of issues, including their care of livestock, land management, the extent to which they are self-sufficient, their care of the environment and their involvement in the wider community. "We hope to attract entries from readers on a wide range of smallholdings, large and small, with a varying range of livestock," said Simon. "The winner will not necessarily be someone with lots of resources. It may be someone with a modest smallholding who nevertheless impresses the judges with their dedication and commitment to this way of life."Six of the leading contenders will be featured in Country Smallholding during the autumn. The judges will then draw up a shortlist of three, and the winner will be announced at a special presentation event towards the end of the year.The judges will include three established writers for the magazine - Alan Beat, Pammy Riggs and James Strawbridge.Alan and his wife Rosie have been smallholders for 20 years and run smallholding courses. They have been writing for Country Smallholding for many years.Pammy and her husband Ritchie run an organic poultry business in North Devon. She regularly answers readers' questions on poultry issues and is currently writing features about enterprising smallholders.James and his family have a smallholding in Cornwall. They are best known for their TV programme It's Not Easy Being Green, and James often focuses on environmental issues in his articles for the magazine.The competition is being run in association Life-Guard Tonic, a natural supplement to improve the diet of chickens and maintain healthy birds. A Life-Guard spokesman said: "We are delighted to be associated with this exciting venture."Smallholders can enter the competition on the Country Smallholding website, www.countrysmallholding.com Alternatively, they can obtain an entry form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (01392) 888481. Entries close on May 1, 2009.