Three finalists of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award have been announced today (Wednesday 6 November) by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and award sponsors, Thorntons Solicitors.
While the finalist farms – from Shetland, Melrose and Dumfries – operate very different types of beef production systems, all those involved in running them share a common enthusiasm to improve productivity and efficiency. They also share a passion to produce high quality, quality assured Scotch Beef PGI.
The finalists are: Scholland Farm, run by Jamie Leslie; Firth Farm in Melrose run by Rob, Kath and Iain Livesey; and, Kingan Farms in New Abbey run by the Kingan family.
As well as demonstrating a strong commitment to improving the health and welfare of their cattle, the three finalist farms have been looking to impress the award assessors with their efforts to strengthen the success of their businesses by adopting new ideas and initiatives.
The aim of the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year Award is to showcase excellence in the production of cattle in Scotland and raise the profile of the dedication and stock management skills behind the production of Scotch Beef PGI.
The recipient 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 150 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI.
The award recipient will be revealed on Wednesday 20 November at AgriScot at noon in the main ring.
Assessors for the award this year are Robert Neill, AgriScot Chairman, Douglas Bell, QMS Director of Strategic Engagement and Niall Jeffrey, who was awarded AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year in 2018. Assessors visited the finalist farms this week.
Douglas Bell, QMS Director of Strategic Engagement, said that he was very impressed with the quality of applicants for this year’s award. He commented: “The quality of applicants for this year’s award are indicative of the world class farming operations we have here in Scotland, fuelled by individuals with passion for what they do. It was great to get out on farm with fellow assessors and see first-hand their dedication to producing high-quality, Scotch Beef PGI.”
AgriScot Chairman Robert Neill added: “AgriScot is an important platform to showcase the best of beef production in Scotland and I’m delighted that we are able to recognise high-calibre farms, like these. It is important that AgriScot showcases the best of beef production in Scotland and we are delighted to recognise these finalists.”
As well as evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance, assessors looked for evidence of the uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency and profitability and whether the businesses had an eye on the market for the end product.
The farms were assessed on the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer and others involved in the business, 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 is 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 cattle destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Beef PGI label – from breeders through to finishers - were eligible to apply for the award and required to be members of QMS’s quality assurance scheme.