The search is on to find beef and sheep farms around Scotland worthy of receiving one of two high profile awards.
The AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year and AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year awards, sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors and supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), set out to find, and reward, Scottish farms which exemplify the best in beef cattle and sheep production.These awards help to raise the profile of the dedication and passion of the cattle and sheep farmers in Scotland who work hard to produce top-quality Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI and the fantastic stock management skills the industry is renowned for.
The organisers of the awards are now encouraging livestock farmers and others involved in the industry to nominate farms they feel are worthy of receiving the accolades this year.
The recipients of both awards will each receive a £500 cheque plus a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a restaurant in the Scotch Beef Club – the club run by QMS with members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef. The awards will be presented at AgriScot at Ingliston on Wednesday 21st November.
Charley and Andrea Walker from Barnside Farm, near Duns were awarded AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year in November 2017. Barnside is a 250-hectare unit which operates a low input, grass fed, organic farming system that supports 840 Easy Care ewes and 220 hoggs.
“Getting the award was an unexpected surprise,” said Mr Walker. “To receive such a prestigious award as this was a great way to round off the farming year. In an industry like farming, where we can often work alone for large parts of the year, being recognised by others as doing a good job is a huge boost.”
Their delight was mirrored by Robert Fleming who runs Castle Sinniness Farm near Glenluce which was announced as AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year in 2017. The farm runs a low-input grass and forage-based paddock grazed system which supports the main herd of 220 Aberdeen-Angus and Angus cross suckler cows plus a further 600 growing cattle under contract.
“It was great honour to receive an award like AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year,” said Mr Fleming, who farms in partnership with his father John and mother Rachael.
“It’s really encouraging to know that what you do is appreciated and that people think you have done a good job.”
He added: “I would definitely encourage others to apply for the award. If you enjoy what you do and you're passionate, then put your hat in the ring.”
Robert Neill, AgriScot Chairman encouraged beef and sheep farmers across Scotland to nominate someone they know or apply themselves for either award. He said: “Our industry is about to face one of the biggest challenges it has ever seen – Brexit. It has therefore never been more important to promote what we do in Scotland so let’s shout from the hilltops about our industry. By entering these awards you can help promote livestock farming in Scotland.”
Douglas Bell, Director of Industry Development with QMS, said the organisation is delighted to support the award. “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to champion excellence in the Scottish red meat industry and recognise the commitment and passion producers have in producing top quality Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI.
“Entries are welcome from producers with different types of livestock enterprises across Scotland who can demonstrate enthusiasm and focus in providing efficient, profitable production of Scotch Beef and Lamb, coupled with excellent stock management skills.”
Kenneth Mackay, partner in the Land and Rural Business team at Thorntons Solicitors added: “We are delighted to sponsor both the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award and AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award. These awards are a great way to promote the efforts of farmers in Scotland and help build confidence in the future for all those working in the Scottish red meat industry.”
Farmers can either apply themselves, or nominate, in confidence, other beef or sheep producer they feel are deserving of the title ‘AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year’ or ‘AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year’.
Those who supply services or products to the industry, from vets to feed manufacturers, as well as the others involved in the production chain such as processors, hauliers and auction markets are also encouraged to nominate livestock farms which are examples of excellence in the industry.
To nominate a farm for either award, email the details of the sheep and beef farms which you feel are doing a great job producing Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb to email@example.com. Applications forms are also available to download here.