The four finalists of the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award were unveiled today (Friday 7th November) by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).
The finalist farms are based in Perthshire, Berwickshire and East Lothian and represent four very different types of beef systems.
All four businesses share a dedication to improving productivity and efficiency and an impressive commitment to improving the health and welfare of their cattle. They also impressed the award assessors, who visited their farm this week, with their efforts to strengthen the success of their businesses by adopting new ideas and initiatives.
The finalists are: Glenkilrie Farm, near Blairgowrie in Perthshire, run by David Houstoun; West Meikle Pinkerton Farm near Dunbar, East Lothian, run by James Gilchrist along with his father Jim and brother David; Wedderlie Farm, Gordon, Berwickshire, run by John and Marion Tilson and their daughter Wanda; and Wester Bonhard Farm near Scone in Perthshire run by Graham Cameron, his father Sandy and mother Ann.
The aim of the 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.
AgriScot and QMS work together to deliver the award which will see the winner receive a £500 cheque. The winner will also receive 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. The overall winner will be revealed at AgriScot on November 19th at Ingliston which last year attracted more than 9000 attendees.
John Elliot, representing AgriScot, and Jim McLaren, Chairman of QMS, visited all four finalist farms earlier this week to evaluate them.
“We have been encouraged by the quality of the farms who applied for this award,” said Andrew Moir, AgriScot chairman. “It is important that AgriScot showcases the best in Scottish beef production and we are delighted that we have the opportunity to recognise the commercial skills and forward thinking approach that the finalists have demonstrated.”
Jim McLaren added: “It has been a privilege to visit four farming families operating on a diverse range of farm types. The common denominators have been dedication to their 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. It has given a huge boost to the confidence I have in the future of our industry, with each of our finalists having active succession into the family business and a clear vision of the way forward. Any one of the four finalists would make worthy winners and serve as excellent ambassadors for the Scotch Beef Industry.”
During this week’s visit to the four farms the assessors were looking for evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance, 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. The assessors were also looking to gauge the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer, and family and staff where relevant, to efficiently produce high quality animals.
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 accordingly they were also required to be members of QMS’s farm assurance scheme.