NOMINATIONS for the 2013 Countryside Alliance Awards are now open, with people encouraged to put the name of their favourite rural businesses forward for the annual celebration.

Now in their ninth year, the awards are voted for by the public and recognise the best enterprising country businesses, those that routinely go the extra mile for their community or help to promote rural life.

The awards, which are nicknamed The Rural Oscars, start regionally and build towards a national championship, due to be held at Parliament in April 2014.

The four award categories are local food, The Daily Telegraph village shop and post office awards, butcher and start-up, for business operating for two years and under.

Nominations will be open from now until November 1 and can be made at www.