Inveraray’s Dougie Ford Takes Prestigious Argyll & The Islands Stalwart Award

Inveraray farmer Dougie Ford is year’s recipient of the Stalwart award, presented annually by NFU Scotland’s Argyll & the Islands region.

The Stalwart award, created in 2016 and awarded for the first time in 2017, recognises those who have given time and effort to the work of the Union in Argyll & the Islands or have made a significant contribution to agriculture in the area.

The virtual regional AGM, which took place recently saw Regional Chair Duncan Macalister of Glenbarr Farms, Tarbert announce Mr Ford as this year’s winner.

Mr Ford has spent a lifetime in farming, initially in Ayrshire, and for more than 40 years in Argyllshire. During that time, he has been an active and participating member of NFU Scotland’s Mid Argyll branch.

Although not from a farming background, his early career saw him working at the Hannah Dairy Research Foundation near Ayr focusing on the rearing of dairy calves. He secured the tenancy of High Balantyre Farm at Inveraray and he arrived driving his little grey Fergie, complete with his hen house on the back containing all his possessions.

With dogged determination and remarkable entrepreneurial attitude, he set about building up a sizeable and successful business that started off with hens, turkeys, pigs and rearing calves providing the foundation to establish a beef herd that peaked at 80 cows.   
However, the farm itself provided the platform for Mr Ford to help the next generation of farmers get their first step on the farming ladder.

Regional Chairman Duncan Macalister said: “Dougie Ford is a very worthy recipient of this award because he has spent a lifetime encouraging and mentoring young people in North Argyll to achieve a career in agriculture."

In proposing Mr Ford for the award, inaugural winner Sybil MacPherson said: “Dougie’s amazing knowledge of people and his ability to connect with young folk has, over the years, provided both education for youngsters, and equally importantly, given a home and moral guidance to numerous young people who had an interest in agriculture but also required a friend and mentor.  

“He provided facilities, support and encouragement for around 20 years to many young people involved in Modern Apprenticeships Schemes to help them achieve a formal education in agriculture along with a practical understanding of life in general. His patience at times would be sorely tested, but he persevered always looking for the best in folk and providing the stability of a home if necessary.”

Speaking after receiving news of the award, Mr Ford said: “I am totally surprised by the award but very delighted.  I have always been keen to help young people with an interest in agriculture to get on and to provide them with the opportunities.  It has been a pleasure to help with apprenticeships or see others take the first steps before progressing on to college.”  

Notes to editors

  • A photo of Argyll and the Islands Stalwart Award winner Dougie Ford with his award is attached.
  • The Stalwart award was created in 2016 in recognition and memory of the dedication shown by Mull’s Bert Leitch and Lachlan MacLean, who represented farmers and crofters both regionally and nationally for many years and passed away in 2015. It is presented annually to either a NFUS member who has followed in their footsteps and given time and effort to the work of the Union in Argyll & the Islands or someone who has made a significant contribution to agriculture in the area.  The inaugural winner in 2017 was Sybil MacPherson; the 2018 winner was the late Ronnie Campbell, a Mull crofter; the 2019 winner was Bute’s Sandy McKirdy and the 2020 winners were haulage experts Donnie and Kate McKerral.


Contact Bob Carruth on 03 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 09/21

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