A Berwickshire farm, run by a dedicated family committed to producing top quality Scotch Beef PGI, was today (Wednesday 19th November) unveiled as the 2014 Scotch Beef Farm of the Year.
Wedderlie Farm, a 2500 acre unit run by John and Marion Tilson and their daughter Wanda Hobbs, was announced as the overall winner by Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, during a presentation at AgriScot.
The aim of the annual award, run by QMS and AgriScot, 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. The other three finalists were: Glenkilrie Farm, near Blairgowrie in Perthshire, run by David Houstoun; West Meikle Pinkerton Farm near Dunbar, East Lothian, run bu James Gilchrist along with his father Jim and brother David; and Wester Bonhard Farn near Scone run by Graham Cameron, his father Sandy and mother Ann.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "I'd like to extend my warmest congratulations to the Tilson family - they are carrying out wonderful work at Wedderlie Farm and their commitment to the continued improvement of their beef herd is to be applauded. Family farms like the Tilsons' are the backbone of our livestock industry.
"This year's winner and the three runners up deserve recognition and great credit for using the latest techniques and tools to build sustainable and viable farming businesses. If the uptake of the beef efficiency scheme is as widespread as we all hope it will be then the future of Scottish beef farming is looking extremely positive."
The representatives of QMS and AgriScot who visited the farm, Jim McLaren and John Elliot, were particularly impressed with the Tilson family's commitment to continually improving the efficiency of t thier farm and to producing the very best beef.
"It was a privilege to visit four farming families running such a diverse range of farm types. All four share the common denominators of dedication to thier chosen specialisms and a focus on the market place for the stock produced on the farm, whether that be suckled calves, store animals, finished cattle or high quality breeding stock," said Jim McLaren.
Andrew Moir, AgriScot chairman, added: "We have been encourage by the quality of the farms put forward for this award. It is important that AgriScot showcases the best of beef production in Scotland. Our congrtulations go to the Tilsons and the other three finalists for the commercial skills and forward-thinking approach they all demonstrate."
Marion Tilson said the family was surprised and delighted to have won. "Winning the award means a great deal to us and its a particular priviledge to have won it during the herd's centenary year."