A £1000 cash prize, plus a sponsored trip to the Nuffield Farming Conference, will be awarded to the winner of this year’s AgriScot Business Skills competition.

Four SRUC Agriculture students – two studying in Edinburgh and two in Aberdeen – will be vying for the prizes in the final at AgriScot in Ingliston today (November 21).

Regional heats of the competition, which is open to students and young agricultural professionals under 25, took place at Calla Farm, Carnwath, for the South and Muirden, Turriff, for the North of Scotland.

Competitors are judged on a range of farm and business management tasks by the host farmer and an independent assessor.

Sponsored by Dairymaster UK, the final which takes place today, will see the four competitors judged on the task of assessing the value and relevance of an innovative product or service showcased at AgriScot.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Hollie Cruikshank from Grantown-on-Spey (fourth year, Aberdeen);
  • Ian Buchanan, Kinross (fourth year, Aberdeen);
  • Alasdair Allan, Linlithgow, (third year, Edinburgh);
  • Craig Stout, Orkney, (third year, Edinburgh).

Dr. Bill Dingwall, who has recently retired from SRUC, coordinates the competition on behalf of AgriScot.

He said: “This competition is a great experience for all of the young people who take part. The finalists at AgriScot 2017 were asked to report on the benefits a new rapeseed-based livestock feed product launched at the event.

“One of the finalists, Kerry Cartwright, has subsequently gone on to win support from the product manufacturer, Norvite, to carry out live feed trial work on the product.

The 2016 winner of the competition, Heather Kerr, now works alongside me at SRUC and this year took on the role of organising the south regional heat at Carnwath.

“There are so many great success stories from previous winners and finalists and participation definitely adds kudos to a CV.”

For this year, to coincide with the Nuffield Farming Conference taking place in Glasgow on the day after AgriScot, the event directors have also agreed to add a special prize, supporting the competition winner to attend the prestigious conference.

AgriScot chairman Robert Neill said: “We are delighted and grateful to announce Dairymaster UK as the new sponsor for our Business Skills Competition. Their support allows us to continue to work with SRUC and SAYFC to organise and stage this renowned competition.

“We are set to host a large number of Nuffield scholars at AgriScot this year on the eve of their farming conference. It will be a great privilege to host them at AgriScot and give them a day packed with innovation and ideas to fuel their thoughts for their own event.

“I am delighted that we can also offer our 2018 Business Skills competition winner the chance to attend the Nuffield Farming Conference as a bonus prize this year.”