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Stackyard News Mar 06
       

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    The Best In Innovation Reap Rewards
06/03/06

Two of Scotland's most innovative and exciting businesses have been rewarded for their efforts, coming winner and runner-up in the prestigious NFU Scotland Innovation Award.

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 and investment.

NFU Scotland's Chief Executive, Andy Robertson, presented both the winner and runner-up of the Innovation Award with their prizes at the NFUS AGM on Thursday 2 March at the St Andrews Bay Hotel.

WINNER
Alistair Stewart (Sandyknowe Yogurt Drinks)
- Alistair, in partnership with his father and brother, runs the family dairy farm near Kelso in the Borders. Alistair has diversified the business by setting up a yogurt drink enterprise and, using the milk produced on farm, he produces 100% natural fruit flavoured yogurt drinks. Alistair currently sells through local farm shops and stores in Edinburgh but plans to expand by marketing through retailers Scotland wide.

RUNNER-UP
Hilda Seator (Grimbister Farm Cheese)
- Hilda and her family run a business making traditional Orkney farmhouse cheese from the milk produced by the family Friesian herd near Kirkwall. 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, in addition to continuing to develop the range of flavours she creates.

Andy Robertson, NFUS Chief Executive, who presented the awards, said:

"I was extremely encouraged not only by the large number of applications in this category, but also by the variety of businesses that have been involved. We are seeing more and more in the way of diversification and added value products these days and I am incredibly inspired by the forward thinking and innovation demonstrated within this category.

"In particular, Alistair and Hilda have shown how modern farming is embracing change and focusing on the market place and I commend not only their determination but also their creativity, passion and knowledge."

Alistair Stewart, winner of the NFUS Innovation Award, said:

"My business is still in its infancy but I am very positive about its future and feel even more encouraged having won this award. I am proud of the business and of all the hard work put in by those involved and am excited to be receiving the NFUS Innovation Award.

"I am sure that the award itself will serve to further develop the business and help it to reach its full potential and I am both excited and grateful to be given this additional opportunity."


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