Agriscot draws crowds despite farming challenges
MORE THAN 11,500 people attended last week’s AgriScot event near Edinburgh.
Billed as one of the UK’s biggest and most prestigious farm business exhibitions and shows, AgriScot brings together livestock, farm supply fi rms, agricultural advisers and working farmers under one roof at Ingliston for an annual countryside showcase.
Among many highlights, Isle of Mull student Claire Simonetta, scooped £1,000 as she won the the AgriScot business skills competition. Pitted against three other fi nalists, Scottish Rural College (SRUC) third-year student Claire gave the outstanding presentation on a milk analysis tool for dairy farmers.
Claire, of Torloisk Farm, Ulva Ferry, described the competition as ‘a fantastic experience’.
Elsewhere, the winner of the inaugural AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award was awarded to Armadale in Sutherland.
Farmer Joyce Campbell runs the 5,600-acre hill farm with help from a part time contract shepherd and her niece and nephew.
The farm supports a flock of 780 Lairg-type north country Cheviot ewes.
Richard Blake from Thorntons Solicitors, judging the competition, said: ‘Joyce and the Armadale team show fantastic community engagement including ongoing work with local schools and the Rural Skills programme. They have regular dialogue with multiple retailers resulting in the re-introduction of Scotch lamb on local shelves. ‘Joyce herself is also active in encouraging the next generation to become actively involved in the farming operation and in showcasing the farm and the Scottish sheep sector to a national and international audience by way of social media.’
The Isle of Bute had success as an Ayrshire heifer won the interbreed ‘Super Heifer’ award. Bred by J McAlister and Sons, Bruchag Farm, Bruchag Talent Evelyn also won the championship at Bute Show earlier this year. Judging at the show in Rothesay that day was Ayrshire farmer Gilmour Lawrie, who promptly bought a half share in the winning beast.
Andrew Moir, AgriScot chairman, said: ‘It has been very busy. There have been a lot of good vibes about the event and the seminars have been really pleasing, especially the one at which the cabinet secretary, Richard Lochhead, spoke. I think there were more than 300 people at that seminar, keen to hear him speak about the forthcoming CAP reform.
‘My gut feeling is that we have a similar, or greater, number of attendees as last year. The timing of AgriScot is perfect, given that most farmers can get away from the farm at this time of year. Despite current challenges, farmers still want to come along and learn what’s new in the industry and I’m particularly pleased to see so many younger farmers. Business is still being done – where there are difficulties, there will always be opportunities and that is what AgriScot is all about.’
Claire Simonetta with (left) rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead
and Alec Ross of sponsors Biocell Agri.