The NFU Scotland Innovation Award was established six years ago. The Award
aims to encourage, recognise and reward those who have improved, changed or
diversified their businesses through innovation or invention.
Common Agricultural Policy reform has meant that all farm businesses
are required to become more market focussed and to produce what
the consumer demands. In addition, due to poor market prices
at present, farmers are looking for innovative ways in which
they can diversify the business to enable them to remain profitable
and to continue supporting the local community through employment
The Innovation Award attracted many entries from all over Scotland.
The panel of judges, including staff from NFU Scotland and an
independent judge, have shortlisted the entries to a final of
four applicants who are currently being visited and now await
the announcement of the results.
Once the winner and runner-up have been selected, the official
announcement will be made at the NFU Scotland AGM on 2 March
when they will be presented with their prizes. The winner receives
£1000 and a plaque for the farmgate and the runner-up receives
£250. In addition, both prize-winners and their partners
will receive an all expenses paid night at the St Andrews Bay
Hotel when they are presented with their prizes.
The four finalists are:
Calum McDiarmid - Calum and his family run Spirit of Wood in
Aberfeldy, where they sell high quality furniture and household
accessories from a renovated cow byre on their farm. The business
supplies hotels, self-catering establishments and new build property
developments, as well as the public. Calum's plans for the future
include expanding the premises and increasing marketing activity.
Elizabeth Ramsay - Elizabeth, from Castle Douglas, founded Scottish
Organic Lamb in 2002. She sells organic lamb, produced on farm,
direct to consumers, hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and
also via mail order. Already supplying Harvey Nicols, Elizabeth
also hopes to supply Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Nick Nairn's
restaurant in the coming months.
Hilda Seator - from Orkney, Hilda runs a business making traditional
Orkney farmhouse cheese from the milk produced by the family
Friesian herd. Hilda sells the cheese through retailers, mail
order and also sells directly to the public. In 2006, she plans
to update the website and expand sales further within the USA.
Alistair Stewart - Alistair works on the family dairy farm near
Kelso in the Borders. Alistair has diversified the business by
setting up a yoghurt drink enterprise and, using the milk produced
on farm, he produces natural fruit flavoured yoghurt drinks.
Alistair currently sells through local farm shops but plans to
expand by marketing through retailers Scotland wide.
Anna Davies, NFU Scotland Communications Officer, said:
"With agriculture being in the midst of great change at
the moment, NFU Scotland feels it is as important as ever to
reward those individuals or companies who are making a positive
and forward looking impact upon the industry. More and more attention
is also being turned to innovative farming and diversification
as farmers become less and less reliant on support payments and
more reliant on the marketplace.
"I am proud that NFUS is running the Excellence Awards
again this year and I look forward to seeing yet another deserving
winner in this category."
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