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Stackyard News Nov 06

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    Time For Young Achievers To Be Rewarded!

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 The deadline for applications is Friday 1 December 2006.

link Hidden Cost of Family Labour on Farm
link Consumers, Climate and Challenge - MLC Outlook Conference
link Free Nutrient Management Workshops for Farmers

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