2nd November 2017

AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Finalists Unveiled

The three finalists of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award were unveiled today (Thursday 2 November) by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors.

The finalist farms, from Morayshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Lanarkshire, were shortlisted from an unprecedented number of applications received this year.

While the farms operate very different types of beef production systems, all those involved in running them share a common enthusiasm to improve productivity and efficiency and a passion to produce high quality, quality assured cattle.

The finalists are: Birks Farm, near Carluke, run by Douglas and James Frame; Castle Sinniness in Glenluce, Dumfries and Galloway, run by Messrs J S Fleming; and Pitgaveny Farm near Elgin, owned by Rebecca Russell and her brother Crinan Dunbar and managed by Martin Birse with head stockman Geoff Anderson.

[[{"fid":"38801","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Castle Sinniness - Robert Fleming","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Castle Sinniness - Robert Fleming"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Castle Sinniness - Robert Fleming","title":"Castle Sinniness - Robert Fleming","height":375,"width":480,"style":"width: 300px; height: 234px; margin: 5px; float: right;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]As well as all demonstrating a strong commitment to improving the health and welfare of their cattle, the three finalist farmers also impressed the award judges with their efforts to strengthen the success of their businesses by adopting new ideas and initiatives.

The aim of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award is to showcase excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland and raise the profile of the dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Beef PGI.

The winner will receive a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant. The club, run by QMS, has around 300 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI. 

[[{"fid":"38803","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Pitgaveny Farm - Martin Birse and Geoff Anderson","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Pitgaveny Farm - Martin Birse and Geoff Anderson"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Pitgaveny Farm - Martin Birse and Geoff Anderson","title":"Pitgaveny Farm - Martin Birse and Geoff Anderson","height":320,"width":480,"style":"width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 5px; float: left;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]The overall winner will be revealed on Wednesday 15 November at AgriScot, one of the premier events in UK agriculture. The announcement will be made at 12.15pm in the main ring. 

The judging panel for the award consists of Robert Neill, AgriScot board member, Douglas Bell, QMS Head of Industry Development and Robert Parker, winner of AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2016. They will visit the three finalist farms in the next week to select their winner.

Douglas Bell, QMS Head of Industry Development at QMS, said that he had been extremely impressed with the standard of the applications received this year and that shortlisting had been a challenge for all three judges.

He said: “It has been wonderful to hear from so many farming businesses across Scotland who take are taking a real pride in what they do. Although the types of farms have been diverse, all of the farmers who applied show dedication to their chosen specialisms and a focus on the market place for the stock produced on the farm.”

He added: “We are looking forward to visiting all three finalists to get a real understanding of their businesses and their aspirations for the future. Based on their applications, all three of the finalists would make worthy winners and excellent ambassadors for our industry and the Scotch Beef brand.”

Fellow judge and AgriScot board member Robert Neill added: “It is important that AgriScot showcases the best of beef production in Scotland and we are delighted to recognise these finalists. All three farms are very different but share strong commercial skills and a forward-thinking approach.” 

When the judges visit the three farms next week, they will be looking for evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance. They will also be looking for evidence of the uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency/profitability, a high level of health and welfare and a keen eye on the market for the end product.

They will also look to gauge the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer and others involved in the business, to efficiently produce high quality animals.

Kenneth Mackay, partner in the Land and Rural Business team Thorntons Solicitors said: “We are proud to be sponsors of both the Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year and Scotch Beef Farm of the Year awards. Agriscot are keen to recognise all elements of the agricultural sector and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve that goal.”

All farms producing cattle destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Beef label – from breeders through to finishers - were eligible to apply for the award and required to be members of QMS’s quality assurance scheme.

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