YOUNG farmers, young agri-professionals and students are being encouraged to enter the AgriScot Business Skills Competition.

SRUC lecturer, and the new co-ordinator of the annual competition, Heather Kerr is keen to promote its worth for both students and youngsters already in the world of work. As in previous years, a £1,000 cash prize will be provided to the winner courtesy of competition sponsor, Dairymaster.

“The cash prize from Dairymaster for the winner of this competition should be very attractive in its own right,” said Ms Kerr. “However, even taking part in the competition is a valuable learning and development experience.”

“I myself am a previous winner of the competition, and I found the whole process extremely useful in terms of my personal development – and of course on my CV.

“The experience will be further enhanced this year as we have the Clydesdale Bank on board to offer coaching and mentoring to each of the finalists in the run up to the final.”

Another previous competition winner, Andrew McGregor, said: “Being involved in the qualifier and then the final for the AgriScot Business Skills competition was a real challenge and was a good introduction to planning projects on farm.

"As a young person in farming there are not many chances to be the main decision maker when it comes to major investment, so to get the experience doing that within a competition is a great opportunity.”

Backing up the message that the competition is not solely for students, Mr McGregor, who was recently appointed as chairman of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs Agri Affairs group, is particularly keen to encourage his fellow SAYFC members to enter.

Initial entry to the competition is in the form of a short essay on a pertinent agricultural topic set by the co-ordinator. The best entrants will then be invited to take part in regional heats – covering the North and South of Scotland, which will be held on farm in late October, with competitors assessed, usually by the host farmer and a guest judge from the wider industry, across a range of key farm business management tasks.

From these regional heats, finalists will then emerge to compete at the final on the day of AgriScot, November 20. That competition final will involve the remaining competitors evaluating and reporting on a designated innovative product or service showcased at the event – 'how could this benefit a farming business?' being the question posed.

Speaking for the Clydesdale Bank, Andrew Denniss – who was an assessor for the competition in 2018 – said: "Judging the AgriScot Business Skills Competition has filled me with confidence regarding the future of farming in Scotland. All the entrants were highly motivated and forward thinking.

“I hope that we see such high calibre candidates for the 2019 competition and I am super keen to help the finalists prepare for their AgriScot challenge – either myself or one of my Clydesdale Bank colleagues look forward to helping and providing muddy boots advice to the next generation.”

Young people, under 26 years of age, who would like to enter the AgriScot Business Skills Award, should email in the first instance.

For in-depth news and views on Scottish agriculture, see this Friday’s issue of The Scottish Farmer or visit