National awards for local farmers

Neil Steven (left) of sponsors Johnston Carmichael and John Elliot at Roxburgh Mains
Neil Steven (left) of sponsors Johnston Carmichael and John Elliot at Roxburgh Mains
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Berwickshire organic farm, Peelham, at Foulden, is one of four finalists in the local food category of the annual national ‘Rural Oscars’.

The section winner, other category winners and winner overall will be announced at the Countryside Alliance Awards’ Scottish finals at Holyrood in March.

Meanwhile multi-prize-winning Kelso farmer John Elliot of Roxburgh Mains has won an award for promoting performance recording.

The noted Aberdeen Angus, Suffolk and Texel breeder, who has been recording how his stock perform for over 30 years, was presented with the Johnston Carmichael Trophy from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Mr Elliot said: “The only way our ram customers can enhance the income they make from their lambs is by hitting optimum market weight and conformation when prices are high in early summer.

“We use EBVs as a selection tool and as a buying aid for customers, but we’ve also improved the commercial attributes of our Suffolks and Texels by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each breed and enhancing the former and reducing the latter.”

His Texel and Suffolk flocks are in the top 10% of the breed when it comes to performance, and five of Scotland’s top 10 Texel rams this year were sired by Roxburgh rams.

QMS’ Kathy Peebles said: “John is an extremely worthy winner. He is an excellent example of how EBVs can enhance a business and how to market genetics to both the pedigree and commercial breeder. John produces animals that have both the looks and the figures.”