Houston wins the Sir William Young Award

Alasdair Houston of Gretna House Farms in Gretna Green has been awarded this year’s Sir William Young Award for his exceptional contribution to the world of cattle breeding.

The award, which is made annually by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, recognises outstanding contribution to livestock breeding and commemorates the service to Scottish agriculture by the late Sir William Young

Based at Gretna House Farm, the society said that Houston’s Gretnahouse herd was one of the most influential in the national Charolais herdbook, with bulls selling to 25,000gns twice at national sales.

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Added to this outstanding achievement was the creation of an Aberdeen Angus herd in 2011, and in just a decade Gretnahouse Blacksmith has become one of the most sought-after bulls in the breed.

While the foot and mouth pandemic ripped the heart out of the farm’s original pedigree Simmental herd, conviction in breeding policies saw the Gretnahouse name re-established through its Charolais breeding programme.

Also playing a leading role in the hospitality and tourism sector, Houston collected an MBE in 2011.

Commenting on the award, Bill Gray, RHASS chairman said that farmers hearing the ‘Gretnahouse’ prefix instantly recognised this as a mark of quality and integrity in the passionate production of top-quality animals:

“Alasdair has been the driving force behind his fantastic herds, not to mention his contribution to the tourism and hospitality sectors, and it outstanding what he has achieved in a relatively short space of time. On behalf of RHASS, we wish him huge congratulations for this richly deserved award.”

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