By George Purves of United Auctions

Reading the columns of The Scottish Farmer every week reinforces my view that the agricultural sector needs to work together to keep ahead of changes in consumer habits and social changes that affect our sector’s everyday life.

At United Auctions we are playing a leading role in promoting our finest Scotch Lamb produce with a major push towards making Scotch Lamb the meal of St Andrew’s Day – Scotland’s national day.

We believe that it’s the responsibility of everyone in agriculture to promote all the prime livestock produce that makes its way through Scotland’s livestock markets. Our lamb, which is carefully nurtured on hillsides across the country, is something that the world sees as a premium product, but there is much still to do to take premium lamb onto the menu cards and family tables the length and breadth of Scotland in the volumes we would all want to see.

So, we have rolled up our sleeves to re-ignite a campaign that places Scotch Lamb as the centrepiece of St Andrew’s Day cooking. We are supporting clubs and community groups across Scotland to widen awareness of the meat, not least of all in working with a number of rugby clubs (including Hawick, Selkirk, Peebles and Dumfries) in putting Scotch Lamb at the heart of their events on St Andrew’s Night.

It’s a promising part of our work with others across our industry – including the Scottish Government, QMS and the NFUS – to promote the best that Scottish farming has to offer.

It’s almost 10 years on since Willie Mitchell and I emerged from the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme, with the idea on our drawing board, and the late chef, Andrew Fairlie, provided us with that inspirational first menu. In that time, the concept of St Andrew’s Day lamb has made the transition from good idea to encouraging genuine behaviour changing action – and that can only be good for the industry.

The rural economy, livestock auctioneers included, face many risks and challenges, however we must all work together to face them with continuing innovation and promotion of the best that our industry has to offer.

I hope the whole sector will join us on our national saint's day, November 30 and enjoy a delicious celebration dinner with Scotch Lamb!

George Purves is managing director of United Auctions and a member of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland.