PREPARATIONS are well underway for what is one of the highlights of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ calendar as the Royal Highland Show plays host to several National competitions as well as a number of receptions and meetings with industry leaders. 

“Excitement has certainly kicked in for this years show and, if I’m being completely honest, so have some nerves as it’s one of the biggest events in a National chairman’s year and is a platform for Young Farmers to show what we as an association can offer,” said the association’s National chair, Suzie Dunn. “Personally, I just can’t wait for all the announcements we have got this year throughout the show with the launch of this year’s new international trips which I feel are one in a lifetime opportunities, a new competition which will be huge, believe me, and a little something extra as this space.”

At the top of the list is a reception for the Agri and Rural Affairs group on the Thursday, which will celebrate ‘cultivating futures’ and have a key note address from Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing. Thursday will also welcome the first heats of the ready, steady, country cook competitions as well as a reception hosted by Miss Dunn, where the winners of the Club of the Year, membership recruitment and district participation will be announced, and the winner of the Ritchie Trophy for the individual who has made a significant contribution to SAYFC. 

On Friday, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will visit the stand to discuss a mentoring programme before challenging Suzie or her vice-chair, David Lawrie, to a cook-off. Sheep shearers will take to the boards in the MacRobert Pavillion while the ready, steady, country cookers will compete in the next round and the Friends of Young Farmers, SAYFC’s alumni, will host a reception. 

Moving on to the Saturday and two of the most coveted titles will be up for grabs as top stockjudgers from all over the country test their knowledge during the stockmanship competition with the hopes of being crowned Stockman of the Year, and the cattle rings welcome the tug-of-war finals, which always gathers a large crowd. The finalists in the ready, steady, country cook competition will also compete in the last round. 

Throughout the week the home of SAYFC, the YF centre, will be jam-packed with displays of arts and crafts as the junior and senior members put their skills to the test. Seniors taking part in the arts and crafts will be working to the ‘Abracadabra’ theme and will need to make an item of clothing, a spell book cover, an alcoholic potion/brew, a floral arrangement, a decorated cake and the usual further article.

Juniors will be sticking to the ‘School Days’ theme and will make a school diary cover, five decorated cupcakes, a floral arrangement and, again, a further article. There will also be the annual photography and craftmanship competitions, which this year will see members enter their ‘This farming life’ photos and make a wine rack. 

There is plenty action outside the YF centre, too, as there will be a ‘challenge the regional chair’ and various sponsor cook-offs, as well as several gungings which will feature The SF editor, Ken Fletcher. A variety of dances, organised by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland and supported by SAYFC, will be held on all four nights starting with Wednesday, and tickets can be sourced via SAYFC.