This weekend coming four of Forestry Commission Scotland’s starter farm tenants will be taking centre stage and judging on the agricultural circuit.
Three tenants, Ross and Kirsty Williams and Craig Malone will be judging at the popular Peebles Show which is returning to the Forestry Commission Scotland fields at Nether Horsburgh for this year.
Husband and wife team Ross and Kirsty at Upper Tullochbeg are respected sheep breeders and are well known on the show circuit. Ross will be judging the Beltex at Peebles while Kirsty will take charge of the Zwarbles ring. They are also showing their sheep the day before at the annual Beltex show.
Craig Malone at Pitcairn will face another tough judging task. The day before the Peebles Show he will be touring local farms judging the Special Cow and Calf class groups. On Show day he judges nine classes in the Commercial Cattle section, followed by the hotly contested Young Farmers Calf competition.
Fourth tenant, Michael Burns, who runs Glenside starter farm in Ayrshire is judging both the Blackface sheep and Prime Lambs at the Coylton Show.
Forestry Commission Scotland’s agricultural advisor Robin Waddell will also be helping manage the scores in the Secretaries’ tent at the Peebles Show. He said:
“It’s great news that all these young farmers are demonstrating their skills and knowledge on the agricultural circuit.
“Being a judge shows that they have the respect of the agricultural community and we are very proud that they are starter farm tenants too. We wish them the best of luck for Show day.”
Kirsty Williams added: “I’m really delighted to be chosen to judge at the Peebles Show. It is a real honour for me personally and great to see so many starter farm tenants being active within the agricultural circuit.”
Michael Burns also reinforced this message: “It is a real privilege to be judging at the Coylton Show.”
The starter farm programme was set up by Forestry Commission Scotland to help new farmers get a first foothold into the farming sector. New entrants to starter farms are often given a 10 year lease on property and land on the National Forest Estate to help them build up a business.
There are currently seven starter farms in operation across Scotland including units in Fife, Ayrshire, Stirlingshire, Aberdeenshire and Dumfriesshire. A further two, one at Achnamoine in Caithness and the other at Gourdie near Dundee are also planned.