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Stackyard News Jan 06

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    Four Compete In Young Achiever Excellence Award Final

The NFU Scotland Young Achiever Award, which is sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, was established six years ago. The Award aims to encourage, recognise and reward those who excel in the Scottish farming industry. Applicants must be under 35 years of age.

Modern farming is constantly evolving and having to adapt to more and more technology and scientific advances. In addition, the average age of Scottish farmers is in the high fifties and so attention is now turning to the younger generation who will be the farmers of the future. Pressure is being placed on educational establishments and on Government to encourage young farmers as much as possible and the NFU Scotland/Royal Bank of Scotland Young Achiever award aims to add to this encouragement.

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 are 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:

Jay Crawford - Jay helps to run the family farm, farm shop and restaurant at Turnberry in Ayrshire and has developed a new venture whereby he produces biodiesel from the used cooking oil from the restaurant. All of the farm vehicles, in addition to two generators, are run on 100% biodiesel and Jay plans to expand by providing a biodiesel package to local businesses.

Kenneth Johnstone - Kenneth is from near Biggar in Lanarkshire and, along with his father, runs the 350 hectare beef and sheep farm. In addition, Kenneth runs an incinerator business, disposing of fallen stock from local farms in a biosecure and environmentally friendly way. In the coming years, Kenneth intends to expand the incineration business and also to develop an additional, tourism based, business aimed at educating the public about farming and the benefits it delivers.

Steve Mitchell - from Auchertool in Fife, Steve Mitchell runs the family farm on which he runs a breeding herd of water buffalo, in addition to a herd of cattle. Steve supplies the unique buffalo beef directly to the public through farmers markets and plans to further develop the business in 2006 and beyond into milk production and the making of buffalo mozzarella cheese.

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.

Speaking of the awards, Jimmy McLean, Head of Agricultural Services at The Royal Bank of Scotland, said:

“The Royal Bank is delighted to be supporting the NFUS Young Achiever Award again, particularly as the industry adapts to the challenges and realities of CAP Reform. Our young farmers are the future of the industry and we are committed to supporting them. These awards will recognise not only the enthusiasm of the participants, but also their innovation, market orientation and the business management skills they bring to their operations. These are qualities which we at The Royal Bank also look for when assessing new business propositions.”

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. As the average age of farmers in Scotland hits almost 56, focus is also shifting towards supporting the younger generation who are the future of our industry.

“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.”

link Four Compete In Innovation Excellence Award Final
link NFU Scotland Seeks Views On Diffuse Water Pollution
link Five Compete In Biodiversity Excellence Award Final

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