Future Farmer Deadline Approaches

Scottish farmers have less than six weeks to submit entries for the prestigious Future Farmer Award 2012 and have the chance of winning £4,000.

The award looks to recognise outstanding contribution to the agricultural industry and searches for a farmer – modern or traditional, hill or lowland, large or small – who has made an impact on commercial farming whilst recognising the need for sustainability.

The Future Farmer Award is an initiative funded by the Elizabeth Murray Trust and supported by NFU Scotland. Each year a forward thinking Scottish farmer is given £4,000 and a package of practical support to help them promote their ideas and methods to other farmers and land managers.

The Award aims to showcase ways in which Scotland can produce food, fibre and wood products from farms and crofts in a commercially viable way while maintaining the natural capital of the land and minimising the ecological footprint of farming activities. Farmers can put themselves forward for the award or nominate someone else who they think deserves recognition.

Borders farmer and NFUS member Michael Williams, who runs the Award, said:

“Entries are starting to come in but with spring work and lambing looming we would encourage as many entries as possible now before the farming workload takes over. I realise that many farmers are modest about what they do but we are really keen to ensure that we find a worthy winner and so I encourage people to enter themselves or a friend or relative.

“Scottish farming has much to be proud of and as an industry we should be ensuring that we demonstrate some of the amazing things that we achieve and the outstanding things that farming contributes to our small country.

“Whoever wins the Future Farmer Award will be able to demonstrate forward thinking, passion and dedication to the farming industry in a way that also shows us how farming and the environment can work hand in hand towards the sustainability of rural Scotland. We hope that that person can then help us to showcase to others just how this can be done.

“I know that there are many farmers out there who have the ability to win this award and so I ask all those involved in Scottish farming to help us spread the word and encourage people to come forward.”   


  • Interested parties should visit for information on how to apply. The closing date for applications is Friday 29th April.
  • Andrew Rennie, a well-known pioneer of anaerobic digestion from the North East of Scotland, won the Future Farmer Award 2011.
  • About Andrew Rennie and Gask Farm:  Gask is a family farm run by John, Monica and Andrew Rennie. Having been a traditional mixed Aberdeenshire farm growing 650 acres of cereals and with a 280 sow breeding to finishing pig unit, the farm diversified in 2006 with the creation of an Anaerobic Digester (AD). This was a new concept of energy production for the UK at that time and was the first AD plant to be built in Scotland. The diversification utilises waste streams from the local abattoir and blends this with the pig slurry to create a rich natural fertiliser and a renewable energy source. The process produces 15,000 tons of digestate per year and off sets the carbon footprint by making 340kw/hour of renewable electric. 12 per cent of this power is used to run the site and the rest is exported into the national grid while the farming enterprise off sets the carbon footprint by using the digestate as a replacement for inorganic fertiliser. Since 2006, crop yields have been maintained and in some cases increased. Cereals are harvested and stored on the farm and used to feed the pigs for the next year. Once fed to the pigs, the green renewable cycle begins again with the slurry going back to the AD plant. The overall aim of the Rennie family is to be more sustainable, reduce impact on the environment, become less reliant on the world’s resources and utilise what they already have. All of this has made them a carbon neutral business. The farm welcomes 300-500 visitors a year to view the farming strategies and to gain an insight as to how it all pulls together, making Andrew and his family extremely worthy winners of this initiative.



Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006 or Anna Davies, Scene & Herd PR 07775 894012


Date Published:

News Article No.: 28/12

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