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AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Finalists Unveiled
Three top sheep businesses have been unveiled today (Thursday 2 November) as the finalists of the AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Award, by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors.
The finalist farms - from Fife, Berwickshire and Aberdeenshire - were selected from a strong line-up of entries this year. While they represent quite different types of sheep enterprises, the trio of farming families share 100% dedication to producing first class, quality assured sheep and lambs.
The finalists are: Hilltarvit Mains, Cupar, Fife run by Ian Whiteford and family, Barnside Farm, Abbey Saint Bathans, Duns run by Charley and Andrea Walker and Titaboutie Farm, Coull, Aboyne, run by Andrew Robertson.
The aim of the Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Award is to showcase excellence in sheep production in Scotland and to raise the profile of the dedication of the Scottish sheep farmers who produce Scotch Lamb PGI.
The winner will receive a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant. The club, run by QMS, has around 300 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI.
The overall winner will be revealed on Wednesday 15 November at AgriScot, which last year attracted more than 11,000 attendees. The announcement will be made at 12.15pm in the main ring.
The judging panel for the award consists of Hamish Dykes, AgriScot board member, Heather McCalman, Knowledge Transfer Specialist at QMS and Graham Lofthouse, winner of AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year 2016.
Hamish Dykes said the families running the three farms share first class commercial skills and a progressive forward-thinking approach.
“It is important that AgriScot showcases the best in Scottish sheep farming and we are delighted that we have the opportunity to recognise these finalists. All three farms are very different but share strong commercial skills and a forward-thinking approach,” said Mr Dykes.
Heather McCalman, added that the judges had been extremely impressed with the stockmanship skills and passion shown by the families running all three short-listed businesses.
“It was a real privilege for us to visit the farms run by the three excellent finalists. Each of the families share a true pride in their sheep farming businesses,” said Dr McCalman.
During this week’s visit to the three farms the judges looked for evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance, uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency/profitability, a high level of health and welfare and a keen eye on the market for the end product. The judges were also looking to gauge the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer, and family and staff where relevant, to efficiently produce high quality animals.
Kenneth Mackay, partner in the Land and Rural Business team Thorntons Solicitors said: “We are proud to be sponsors of both the Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year and Scotch Beef Farm of the Year awards. AgriScot are keen to recognise all elements of the agricultural sector and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve that goal.”
All farms producing lambs destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Lamb label were eligible to apply for the award and accordingly they were also required to be members of QMS’s farm assurance scheme.