The Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award is now entering its third year and the search is on for beef producers who are showcasing and developing best practice as well as playing an exemplary role in Scottish beef farming.
The overall 2014/15 winner of the competition, run by AgriScot and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), will receive a fabulous cash prize and the now well-established title of Scotch Beef Farm of the Year. Applications are also sought from others working in the industry who can nominate a farm, or farms, they feel merits the award.
Last year’s winners were Alistair Foubister and his wife Anne, from Netherton Farm, Holm, Orkney. Netherton is a 340 acre farm which runs 120 suckler cows which are mainly Aberdeen Angus cross. The Foubisters have been steadily increasing the number of cattle they sell each year, from 79 in 2009 to 106 in 2012, and prior to their win in 2013, the Foubisters invested in new cattle housing in order to improve farm efficiency.
Once again, entries are being sought from farmers who are able to showcase excellence as well as playing an important part in building confidence in the future for all those working in the Scottish red meat industry.
AgriScot and QMS work closely together to deliver the award which will see the winner receiving a £500 cheque plus a £250 voucher to celebrate their accolade at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant – the club run by QMS which has around 300 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef. The award will be presented at AgriScot at Ingliston on Wednesday 19th November. AgriScot 2013 attracted more than 11000 attendees, made up of individuals and business from with agriculture and associated professions.
Andrew Moir, AgriScot chairman, spoke of the significance of the award:
“Over the last couple of years we have rewarded producers who are truly dedicated both to the production of cattle and to the Scotch Beef brand, something which AgriScot, as THE farm business event, is equally dedicated to demonstrating and supporting. The Scottish agricultural industry has a very strong and growing reputation and together, AgriScot and QMS are keen to cement that reputation."
Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland added:
"This is the third year we have supported the award which is now firmly established as a fantastic platform to champion the excellent stock management skills in our industry. Importantly, it also helps to raise the profile of the commitment and passion of the cattle farmers in Scotland who work hard to produce top-quality Scotch beef.”
Alistair Foubister, last year’s winner, looked back on his win:
“At first I was so taken aback to have won the Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award, and knowing the standard of the other applicants, a little embarrassed because they were all such worthy winners.
“However, a year on, I now feel very proud. The win was a fantastic reward not just for me but also my family who have worked so hard in challenging conditions. I also truly believe that our community and Orkney as a whole will benefit from the increase in profile of our beef industry. The response from fellow farmers has certainly been nothing but positive.
“Prior to winning the award I always produced cattle to the very best of my ability but now I definitely think more about the marketing of the Scotch Beef PGI brand and about how important it is that we think carefully about how we get people to buy our product.
“I encourage people to enter the competition and wish this year’s applicants the very best of luck.”
Assessors representing AgriScot, which is now established as one of the UK’s main farm business events, and QMS will review the applications based on evidence of five main areas.
These are a high standard of technical and financial performance, uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency/profitability, a high level of health and welfare, a keen eye on the market for the end product and a clear passion for producing high quality animals.
All farms producing cattle destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Beef label – from breeders through to finishers - are eligible to apply for the new award and accordingly they must also be members of Quality Meat Scotland’s farm assurance scheme.
The applications will initially be assessed on paper to shortlist three finalist farms. A visit will then be made to finalist farms by the panel of QMS and AgriScot assessors.
To register your interest and receive further information and an application form please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call QMS on 0131 472 4122. To be eligible the farm must be a member of the QMS Farm Assurance Scheme - full details of eligibility available on application.