The competitions and livestock executive of the Roya Highland and Agricultural Society (RHASS) has won Scotland’s Rural College’s (SRUC) Fordyce Maxwell Award.

Catriona Brown, who is also a former SRUC student, won the award for agricultural communications.

The award was established by SRUC last year in memory of the late Scotsman journalist, whose son Tom is SRUC’s chief communications officer.

The award aims to recognise those who actively spread the word about agriculture through written articles, social media content for a business, podcasts, Vblogs, public events or any other form of communication.

RHASS said Fordyce was a staple in the farming industry, with a 50-year career spent reporting on topical issues which affected the country, most notably his industry-leading reporting of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001. 

Catriona Brown

Brown is passionate about bringing farming and the working countryside to life, RHASS said.

The 25-year-old Catriona comes from Bonnington Farm, Peebles, and is actively involved in the Royal Highland Education Trust, or RHET (Scottish Borders), of which her father is chair. 

RHET aims to provide the opportunity for every child in Scotland to learn about food, farming and the countryside and to create a wider understanding of the environmental, economic and social realities of rural Scotland.

On winning the award, Brown said: “I’m thrilled to have been presented with the Fordyce Maxwell Award. Educating the population about agriculture is a real passion of mine. 

“I believe that if we would like people to buy our produce, we should welcome them to the farm and educate them, especially the younger generation, about provenance and traceability.”

“We watch the kids come out to the farm and they soon realise the connection between where the produce comes from and what’s available to buy at the supermarket – and that’s so important. It’s great to be able to educate them.

“I feel really honoured to have received this award and very lucky to be in a position that I can positively influence the next generation joining the agricultural sector.”

SRUC chief executive, Prof Wayne Powell, said: “We are always delighted to see our students and our alumni playing such a leading role in promoting and communicating positive messages about Scottish farming and the rural sector.

“Catriona’s highly impressive work at RHASS, particularly at the Royal Highland Show, makes her a worthy winner of this year’s Fordyce Maxwell Award for agricultural communications and we would like to congratulate her on this marvellous achievement.”