Two exceptional sheep businesses have been unveiled as the finalists of the AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year award.

The finalist farms - from the Borders and Perthshire – were selected from a very strong line-up of nominations for the final round of the competition, which is run by AgriScot, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and sponsors Thorntons Solicitors.

Whilst the businesses themselves are quite different, both are run by producers dedicated to producing first class, quality-assured sheep and lambs.

The finalist farms are Bowhill Farming in Selkirk managed by Sion Williams and Incheoch in Alyth run by Neil and Debbie McGowan.

Both farm businesses share a commitment to constantly looking for ways to improve productivity and efficiency.

The aim of the AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year Award is to showcase excellence in sheep production in Scotland and to raise the profile of the dedication of the Scottish sheep farmers who produce Scotch Lamb PGI.

The recipient will receive a £500 cheque as well as a £250 voucher to celebrate their success at a Scotch Beef Club restaurant. The club, run by QMS, has around 150 members committed to serving top quality Scotch Beef PGI.

The award recipient will be revealed on at AgriScot on Wednesday, November 21. The announcement will be made at noon in the main ring.

The assessors for the award this year are Hamish Dykes, AgriScot board member, Dr. Heather McCalman, Knowledge Transfer Specialist at QMS and Charley Walker, recipient of AgriScot Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year 2017 award.

Hamish Dykes said that both businesses were "incredibly impressive" adding that the assessment process this year will prove a challenge as a result.

“It is important that AgriScot showcases the best in Scottish sheep farming," he said.

"We had a large number of nominations this year but the two finalists which have been selected - Bowhill and Incheoch - really shone among the nominees."

Dr. Heather McCalman added that the assessors were looking forward to visiting both farms later this week, where they will look for evidence of a high standard of technical and financial performance, uptake of new ideas to improve efficiency and profitability, a high level of health and welfare and a keen eye on the market for the end product.

The assessors will also look to gauge the passion and enthusiasm of the farmer, and any family and staff who may also work on the farm, to efficiently produce high-quality animals.

Kenneth Mackay, partner in the Land and Rural Business team Thorntons Solicitors said: “We are proud to be sponsors of both the Scottish Sheep Farm of the Year and Scotch Beef Farm of the Year awards. AgriScot is keen to recognise all elements of the agricultural sector and we are delighted to be able to help them achieve that goal.”

All farms producing lambs destined to be used for meat sold under the Scotch Lamb label were eligible to apply for the award and accordingly, they were also required to be members of QMS’s farm assurance scheme.

Stay tuned to AgriLand for more on this story, including full details of both finalist farms.