AFTER what has been described as its most competitive selection process yet, two young Scots have been named in the final selection of 12 youngsters for the National Sheep Association's 2017 next generation ambassador programme.

Rory Gregor, of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, and Alister Watson, Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, both 25, have won places to take part.

As part of the overall NSA next generation initiative, the ambassador programme delivers sessions throughout the year, combining training to enhance personal development and business skills with technical sessions to increase knowledge of the sheep sector. The individuals involved also develop a close working relationship with NSA, to ensure their ambassadorial role lasts far longer than just the 12 months of the initial programme, arming individuals with the skills to promote the sheep sector to the wider public, encourage other young farmers and tackle issues facing sheep keepers around the UK.

NSA communications manager, Joanne Briggs, said: “It was fantastic to hear from so many worthy candidates this year, and with the standard of entrants rising year on year, these young people really are a credit to the industry. Some very tough decisions were made during the interview process.

“Thanks to the continued funding of NSA regions and ram sales and support of several delivery partners, NSA is thrilled to be embarking on the fourth year of the programme and is looking forward to welcoming this year’s group of 12 to their first delivery session in mid-February.”

Mrs Briggs concludes: “Bringing the total number of ambassadors since 2014 to an incredible 46 individuals, NSA is really looking forward to working with this year’s intake through the following 12 months and into the future.”