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The McGowans Incheoch

The AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year and AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year awards, sponsored by Thorntons Solicitors and supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), set out to find and reward Scottish farms which exemplify the best in beef cattle and sheep production.

Husband and wife team Neil and Debbie McGowan run Incheoch, near Alyth, in partnership with Neil’s mother Judy, father Finlay and sister Clare were the recipients of the 2018 Agriscot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year. Incheoch is a 485ha upland farm where the McGowan’s run 1,100 Lleyn ewes on a low-cost sheep system in terms of capital and labour, along with a suckler cow herd.

“Farmers have the tendency to chip away quietly in the background and these awards are a great way to promote the efforts of farmers in Scotland and build confidence in our red meat industry,” said Mr McGowan. “It’s really encouraging to know that what you do is appreciated and that people think you have done a good job.”

These sentiments were echoed by Niall and Angus Jeffrey, the father and son team who were awarded the 2018 AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year. The Jeffrey family run two spring calving herds over three farm units.

“We were really flattered to be nominated, but to win was an unexpected surprise,” said Niall Jeffrey. “If you’re passionate about the Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb industry I would strongly encourage any livestock farmers to throw their hat in the ring and apply.”

The organisers of the awards are now encouraging livestock farmers and others involved in the industry to nominate farms they feel are worthy of receiving the accolades this year.

These awards help to raise the profile of the dedication and passion of the cattle and sheep farmers in Scotland who work hard to produce top-quality Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI and the fantastic stock management skills the industry is renowned for.

The recipients of both awards will each receive a £500 cheque plus a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a restaurant in the Scotch Beef Club – the club run by QMS with members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef. The awards will be presented at AgriScot at Ingliston on Wednesday 20 November.

Robert Neill, AgriScot Chairman encouraged beef and sheep farmers across Scotland to nominate someone they know or apply themselves for either award. He said: “We need to make sure that the great achievements by sheep and beef farmers in this industry are recognised and promoted to the wider public. By nominating yourself, or someone you know, you can help promote livestock farming in Scotland.”

Sarah Millar, Director of Industry Development with QMS, said the organisation is delighted to support the award. She said: “These awards are a fantastic opportunity to champion excellence in the Scottish red meat industry and recognise the commitment and passion producers have in producing top quality Scotch Beef PGI and Scotch Lamb PGI.”

Entries are welcome from all different livestock enterprises across Scotland who can demonstrate excellent stock management skill coupled with enthusiasm and focus in providing efficient, profitable production of Scotch Beef and Lamb.

Kenneth Mackay, partner and head of the Land and Rural Business team at Thorntons Solicitors added: “We’re proud to once again support the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year award and AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award. Both awards champion an industry which has the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world.

“AgriScot are keen to recognise all elements of the agricultural sector and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve that goal. We are looking forward to receiving lots of entries from across Scotland for both categories in 2019.”

Farmers can either apply themselves, or nominate, in confidence, other beef or sheep producers they feel are deserving of the title ‘AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year’ or ‘AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year’.

Those who supply services or products to the industry, from vets to feed manufacturers, as well as the others involved in the production chain such as processors, hauliers and auction markets are also encouraged to nominate livestock farms which are examples of excellence in the industry. 

To nominate a farm for either award, email the details of the sheep and beef farms which you feel are doing a great job producing Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb to info@qmscotland.co.uk