Awards honour agricultural excellence
The Royal Northern Agricultural Society (RNAS) awards are presented each year to stalwarts of the North East farming community in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the sector with this year’s well-attended celebration taking place at Aberdeen’s Leonardo’s Hotel.
Proceedings also included the unveiling of this year’s Good Farming Practice Award winner, supported by Aberdeenshire Council. Entries are assessed against a range of criteria including stock, crops, equipment, environmental management, enterprise and general impression.
This year’s recipient was CJ Grant & Partners, Kindrought, Strichen whose hard work and innovative practices caught the eye of this year’s judge, Pete Watson from Durris during his on-farm visit. He was impressed by Craig and Claire Grant’s fully integrated mixed enterprise which includes laying hens, combinable crops, cattle and sheep and they were congratulated on their win at Friday’s lunch by Aberdeenshire Provost, Judy Whyte.
Receiving the Press & Journal/RNAS shield for services by a public figure or personality to agricultural this year was Director of Food, Drink and Agricultural at Opportunity North East (ONE), Peter Cook whilst the Aberdeen & Northern Marts “Local Award” was won by Towns & Carnie Ltd partner Gordon Towns.
The David Argo Award to an “unsung hero” working within the agricultural sector who merits recognition was presented to former Norvite Animal Nutrition feed adviser, Iain MacDonald and the SRUC award to someone 35 years and under who has shown significant achievement and contribution in agriculture was won by Ben Lowe from Newburgh, Ellon.
The RNAS also continued its long-standing reputation for recognising the up-and-coming generation with a clutch of accolades for students, including the Johnston Carmichael-sponsored awards for a farmers’ son or daughter working at home to Mitchell MacGillivray from Glenlivet and the student employed off farm to Lyndsey Brown from Midmar.
The agricultural apprentice engineer award – once again sponsored by Turriff Agri Parts – was won by Reece Marr who is currently studying a land-based engineering extended diploma with Ravenhill (Dyce).
The event also provided the ideal opportunity for the RNAS to formally pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of secretary/treasurer Alison Argo who has stepped down from her dual role after 15 years and was thanked with a presentation on behalf of the organisation.
RNAS president Alan Cumming said: “This event is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our events diary and represents the culmination of our busy calendar year. It is, therefore, a fitting time to come together and celebrate some of the excellent work that takes place within the sector every day.
“By shining a light on some of the people who make our industry tick, we hope that others will be motivated and inspired by their examples, and we extend our warmest congratulations and thanks to everyone who was involved in this year’s event.”
Commenting on Aberdeenshire Council’s support of the Good Farming Practice Award, Councillor Alan Turner, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “Agriculture supports more than half of the 22,000 people employed in the North East food and drink sector. The industry is hugely important for our area, economically and socially and one which we are committed to supporting and develop in these challenging and changing times.
“We are delighted once again to be supporting the Royal Northern Agricultural Society Good Farming Practice awards which continue to recognise the outstanding contributions made by the North East farming community to ensure the industry remains at the forefront of technology and innovation and of course keeps us well fed.”
To find out more about the Royal Northern Agricultural Society, visit www.rnas.org.uk