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    Young Achievers Rewarded For Excellence
04/03/06

The NFU Scotland Young Achiever Award, which is sponsored by The Royal Bank of Scotland, has rewarded two of the most promising young entrepreneurs in Scottish farming.

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.

Jimmy McLean, Head of Agricultural Services with The Royal Bank of Scotland, presented both the winner and runner-up with their prizes at the NFUS AGM on Thursday 2 March at the St Andrews Bay Hotel.

WINNER
Steve Mitchell (Puddledub Buffalo)
- 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.

RUNNER-UP
Jay Crawford (Dowhill Farm Shop, Restaurant & Biodiesel Plant)
- 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.

Speaking of the award, 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 and I am very encouraged by the quality of the applications we saw. Our young farmers are the future of the industry and we are committed to supporting them. The winners illustrate the range of diversification opportunities available to farmers as they respond to the challenge of CAP Reform. Steve and Jay have both demonstrated not only passion, but also ingenuity, market knowledge and business management skills. These are qualities which we at The Royal Bank also look for when assessing new business propositions.”

Steve Mitchell, winner of the NFUS Young Achiever Award, said:

“Agriculture is in the midst of great change at the moment, but many young people, such as myself, are still fully committed to the industry. However, in the modern era, a little creative thinking is required in order to remain profitable. I have therefore adopted a forward thinking approach and diversified into a more unusual type of farming.

“However, there is no doubt that much more still needs to be done to encourage young people to remain in farming, and to excel, and so I commend the NFUS Young Achiever Award for doing its bit to improve things. I am proud to win the award and in addition to benefiting from it myself, I hope that I can in some way inspire more young farmers to help secure the future of our industry.”


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