Borders landowners, businesses and farmers have clubbed together to set up a bursary to mark the 200th anniversary of the Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS).
The society, which runs the Border Union Championship Dog Show, Border Union Agricultural Show and Kelso Ram Sales, and hosts many other high-profile events, celebrated its bicentenary last year.
Earlier this year it announced the new initiative and last week revealed details of the incentive available to people from the Borders and north Northumberland.
Society secretary Ron Wilson said: “The Border Union Bicentenary Bursary Fund is expected to reach £160,000 after generous support from landed estates, trusts, companies and individuals.”
The aim is to offer financial support to people with drive and ambition who seek to advance their careers (or start a new career) in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, country sports, the food sector, conservation, rural crafts, equestrianism, rural leisure, fish farming, environment, renewable sources of energy, and all aspects of the rural economy of the Borders and north Northumberland, he said.
He added there would be particular emphasis on ensuring that support given to successful applicants would ultimately contribute to the benefit of the rural economy, reflecting the main objective laid down by the founders of the society in 1813, of “encouraging improvement”.
Lord Joicey of Ford and Etal Estates, who oversaw the bursary’s fund-raising , said: “This is a great opportunity for Borderers to realise their potential and to take a study trip, a course or other training that will help them in their career or business. The generosity of Borders farmers and landowners in creating this fund must be remembered. We look forward to seeing it repaid by the future prosperity of successful candidates across every sector of our Borders economy”.
Border Union chairman Jonny McCririck said: “This is a home-grown fund for home-grown Borderers. Funding for professional or personal development in the rural sector is often hard to come by.
“We are here to help anyone with an idea or a wish to develop their skill for business, albeit we will expect them to be realistic and to have done some homework first.”
The BUAS was formed at a public meeting in the Cross Keys Inn on January 22, 1813, under the chairmanship of the Duke of Roxburghe, with the aim of giving premiums for the best stock and making discoveries to improve agriculture, both in arable and animal husbandry.
Members of the bursary panel who will consider funding applications are former rector of Kelso High School and co-author of the history of the Border Union Agricultural Society, At a Meeting Held in Kelso, Charlie Robertson; Ron Wilson; BUAS vice chairman Douglas Stephen; Jonny McCririck; Tweed Forum director Luke Comins; BUAS director Tommy Clark; Borders College principal Liz McIntyre; Lord Joicey; McGregor Farms director Jill McGregor, who also chairs the panel; and BUAS accountant Gordon Chisholm.
For more information visit www.buas.org