NFU Scotland is encouraging young people making a special impact
within rural industries to enter its annual Young Achiever Excellence
Award which is sponsored by NFU Mutual.
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/NFU Mutual Young Achiever
award aims to add to this encouragement.
If you know of anyone who stands out from the crowd, now is the
time to nominate them!
Steve Mitchell of Puddledub Buffalo won the Young Achiever Award
last year. Steve runs an enterprise, alongside that of his uncle,
on the family farm, running a breeding herd of water buffalo, in
addition to a herd of cattle. He supplies the unique buffalo beef
directly to the public through farmers markets and plans to further
develop the business into milk production and the making of buffalo
mozzarella cheese. Since his win, Steve has gone on to win additional
prestigious awards and achieve further business success.
Speaking at the time of his win, Steve 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.”
Geoff Kennedy, Scotland Regional Director at NFU Mutual who sponsor
the award, said:
“We are proud to sponsor the NFU Scotland Young Achiever
Award. Young farmers are the future of the industry and we are
committed to supporting them.
“Over the past decade farmers, and the rural infrastructure,
have witnessed an unprecedented degree of change and diversification.
NFU Mutual is making a conscious effort to react to these changes
and is keen to encourage rural initiatives and diversification
in many ways. These awards will help promote a culture of continuous
improvement, identify high potential individuals and ensure that
rural business development is focussed around the aspirations of
the younger generation.
“At NFU Mutual we recognise that customers need to take
a pro-active approach to the development of their business. NFU
Mutual has a range of insurance, pension and investment solutions
to help customers safeguard their business and plan for the future.
We also understand that farming people have little time to spare
- which is why NFU Mutual has trusted, local experts who can respond
quickly with relevant and appropriate advice.”
Anna Davies, NFU Scotland Communications Manager, who co-ordinates
the awards, said:
“The issue of young people in agriculture has had a very
high profile both within the media and on the political agenda
of late. However, what has become all the more clear is that there
is great need for policy makers and the farming industry itself
to encourage young people into agriculture and related professions.
The best new entrant scheme is of course a profitable farming industry
but we cannot forget that other forms of recognition for hard work
and enthusiasm also play a part.
“I am therefore proud that we are running the Young Achiever
award again this year and I hope that the award serves to boost
the future of agriculture’s younger generation.”
· Prize-winners receive a cash prize and a plaque
to commemorate their win, in addition to being treated to a night
at Dunblane Hydro Hotel for themselves and their partner.
· For details on how to apply to the award or nominate
someone else, please contact Anna Davies on 0131 472 4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for applications is Friday 1 December 2006.
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