Our AGRICULTURE finalists for the 2017 Scottish Rural Awards are…
Down on the Farm
In 2012, Carole Short established High Seas Hobbit, a farm diversification business which allows guests to live on the farm, enjoy spectacular views and escape the pressure of everyday life. Expanding on this, Coastal Carriage – a restored railway carriage living space – was launched in 2015. The unique aspect of Down On The Farm is the experience it offers guests in discovering a real working farm and forgotten aspects of honest, rural life.
South Queensferry, West Lothian
Originally a dairy farm, Craigie’s Farm began selling fruit and veg in the mid 80s. Since then the business has expanded – adding a butchers, meeting room, cafe and shop – and is now split into two; with G&G Sinclair continuing with the jams, farm and fruit while Craigie Fram Limited focuses on the development of the shop, cafe and meeting room. They are the only fruit farm in West Lothian and the only one in Scotland to offer customers the chance to pick their own cherries.
Dr David Slight/Lands of Marketgate
Ormiston, East Lothian
The Lands of Marketgate surround the village of Ormiston, having been farmed by Dr David Slight for most of his life. Some years ago he sold part of his land to The Roslin Institute who carried out pioneering research on Dolly the sheep and has since focused on other ways to revive economic and social benefits to the rural community. Together with Clarendon Planning & Development Ltd, Dr David Slight is now assisting in addressing the housing shortage in East Lothian. The increased number of residents stands to economically benefit the village of Ormiston which was the first planned village in Scotland during the agricultural revolution.
Hilton of Fern by Brechin, Angus
SoilEssentials Ltd is a leading Scottish precision agriculture which started in 2000. Starting out with simply soil sampling, they soon diversified and now exist in the space where agronomy, engineering and IT meet. The company adds to the local economy by employing 18 full-time local staff who live within a 20 mile radius of the business.
CH & AK Walker
Abbey Saint Bathans, Duns
CH & AK Walker is an organic beef and sheep farming business based at Barnside Farm. Home to 800 wool shedding ewes and 80 Welsh Black cows, the business has grown to its current size from a start of 30 ewes grazing on a village football pitch in 1993. The company focuses on looking to nature for practical and ecologically sustainable methods. Their countryside management of pastoral livestock farming is improving productivity and the environment as well as benefiting plants, animals and soil structure.
The Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association
Rural Centre, Ingliston
The Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association (SOMPA) is a co-op of all the organic milk producers in Scotland. Initially aiming to increase the amount of Scottish organic milk sold in Scotland to three million litres in three years, SOMPA are now in the position where all Scottish organic milk is sold into the organic market. With a secondary function helping each member become more efficient in the production process being implemented in 2017, this will allow farms to become sustainable and profitable.
Brian Yates – East Logan Farm
Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire
Brian Yates is a progressive dairy farmer, Farmers Weekly columnist, and breeder of award-winning dairy cattle. The farm partnership, which is a family business involving is wife, son and daughter, have invested in state-of-the-art infrastructure in order to run very efficiently. As well as showing their cattle, the family also spend their free time supporting and attending agricultural shows.
The Farm Stall
Bellochantuy, Campbeltown, Argyll
Hannah and Will Jones moved to Kintyre eight years ago and set up a free-range egg farm. This has since expanded to 4,500 hens and last year the couple added The Farm Stall; selling eggs, Kintryre porridge oats and their own ice cream. With a popular petting sow also present with her latest litter of piglets, The Farm Stall has become a complete day out for the whole family.
Hugh Grierson Organic
Originally a traditional arable farm, the Hugh and Sascha Grierson’s passion for organic farming saw their Newmiln and Balgowan farms become fully organic in 2002, successfully diversifying away from two distinct areas of operation: organic egg production and sale of meat direct to the public via farmers markets and the internet. They aim to reinvent their farms to meet the growing public mood and appetite for healthy farm produce made in Scotland.
Gary Mitchell – West Galdenoch Farm
Gary Mitchell operates a progressive dairy enterprise which was established seven years ago. With a milking herd of circa 800 cows, they are feed a grass-fed diet under a zero grazing system making the business efficient. Having been heavily committed to the dairy industry since February 2015, Gary has held the position of Chairman of the NFU Scotland Milk Committee and has three employees currently completing Modern Apprenticeships in dairy on the farm.