In this week’s Women in Agriculture, the spotlight shines on well-known Limousin and Aberdeen-Angus breeder, Stephanie Dick, where she tells all about her passion for breeding the best and her most memorable achievements.


I was born into the family farm, like my father and grandfather – Ronald and David – before me, and have also been passed down their passion for the job. We are based in Stirling and run a 3000-acre mixed beef and arable farm.

I originally had a love for horses, but the older that I became the more the cattle came to the fore and the horses took a back seat. We run a herd of 250 pedigree Limousin cows and a small British Blue herd under the Ronick prefix, alongside 50 suckler cows and a contracting business to go with the arable side.

On leaving school, before I attended agricultural college, I travelled to Oklahoma to work on a ranch and came back with a passion for Aberdeen-Angus. On my return, that resulted in me starting my Stephick Angus herd to go along side my Limousin herd I had founded a few years previously.

I also have a commercial flock of about 90 ewes that all started from two pets lambs that Dougie MacBeath left for ‘bed and breakfast’ when I was about 10 and they never went home. Those lambs – Minty and Monty – gave me a passion for sheep also and I have recently started a pedigree Blue Texel flock.

What does your job entail?

Working with livestock is what I’ve always wanted to do and I am lucky enough to get to do it everyday. I work alongside our stockman, Stewart Bett, doing all the daily work that cattle require.

I am very much focused on the pedigree side of things and trying to better the herd at every opportunity I can. I love the whole process of choosing your cow and your bull and trying to breed the best animal you can and then turning them out for shows and sales.

As it stands, I manage the entire enterprise alongside my father and grandfather, however, I am more in charge of making the management decisions for the cattle compared to the arable side of the business. Any major decisions are made together but I take charge of the day-to-day running of our herd.

I carry out all the cattle-related tasks – from AI’ing to selecting what bulls go to the cows and creating our show team. It’s a huge responsibility that’s been passed onto myself but one I’m enjoying thoroughly.

I’m also solely in charge of the Aberdeen-Angus herd and all the sheep as both are ventures that I have taken on myself.

My other main job come harvest time is driving the baler. I’m not a huge fan of tractor work, but give me a baler and I will be quite happy! I am also Scottish co-ordinator for the Angus Youth Development Programme.

Main problems in the industry?

Right now I think uncertainty is the main problem. With Brexit looming over our heads and deals or no deals being discussed, what is going to happen with subsidies and exports and the price of our produce in Britain! Hopefully, the British public can appreciate our quality standards and back British.

Outwith farming are you involved in any other organisations?

I am a keen shooter and I go away for a couple of weeks every summer to an international target rifle shooting competition down in Bisley. I think it is good to have a hobby out with farming and I have had mine since school.

It has taken me to likes of South Africa and America on tours shooting for my country. I have really missed it this year with Covid-19 making an appearance.

challenges young people face today?

I think one of the main challenges would be the financial challenge. If you're not from a farming background but want to get into it, the costs can be vast! Even if you are from a farm it can still be a very challenging job at times to stay financially afloat.

What advice would you give to a female wanting to make a career in the industry?

My advice would be no different to that for a male – go for it and get stuck in! Farming can have its lows for sure, but it can also have some amazing highs. It is really like one big family and I think that anyone would be willing to give you help and advice!

If you are young and getting involved, make sure you take advantage of every opportunity on offer – be it young farmers or young breeders! Some of my best times have been with these organisations.

Favourite show?

I love to show, so this is a hard one but I would have to say it’s the Royal Highland Show. It just has so much going for it, you get to see people you haven’t seen in a while and, of course, it has such prestige if you are lucky enough to win!

With so much going on, there is never a dull moment over the four days, except going home on a Sunday night!

Best and worst advice?

Best advice would be listen to your gut and don’t dwell on the bad days.

Generally, when I get a gut feeling and go with it, things turn out not too bad, but when you dither, you over-think and that’s when I can get it wrong. Also, not dwelling on the bad days because you just have to move on and get on with it.

I have no idea about worst advice, however, I’m rather stubborn so if you give me bad advice I probably won’t listen to you and just do what I was doing anyway!

What gives you job satisfaction?

Being a farmer and raising cattle needs a lot of dedication and time and it can be a very trying job at times. I would say I get the most satisfaction when you feel like all your hard work pays off and is recognised.

Whether it is breeding bulls for a strong average and even better with a top price also, winning a show and having other people commend your livestock or having repeat customers coming back knowing that your cattle have done a good job for them.

Biggest disappointment?

Disappointment is a part of life but you can’t let it bother you.

I have had many and will have many more to come I have no doubt, but if you take all the disappointment to heart you’d never get anywhere – keep your chin up, keep smiling and don’t let it get to you.

Favourite animal you’ve shown?

Many of my animals would be favourites for different reasons, it’s so hard to pick one!

Maybe Bastille, a French Limousin that my grandparents bought me when I started my herd as a foundation cow. She was the first animal that gave me an inter-breed title in my own name and that gave me that desire to win more.

Most influential person?

Without a second thought it would be my dad, Ronald. He has taught me just about everything that I know.

I have had a lot of different interests over the years through young breeders, young farmers, starting a new herd of Angus and always buying sheep.

Whatever it is, my dad has always encouraged me with it and helped me out when I needed it or let me find my own way and picked up the pieces when it’s all gone wrong and encouraged me to try again.

He is the most hard working person I know, which gives me the opportunities to go to shows and sales and if I could even have half of his knowledge one day, I think I would be doing pretty well!

Biggest achievement?

The achievement that would come to my head first would be winning the Aberdeen-Angus overall championship at the Royal Highland Show, in 2018, with Crew Lady Jasmine. That is an achievement that I have dreamed about since I was little.

That or the Young Farmers’ stockjudging, having won the beef individual, the beef pairs twice and being on the winning Glasgow Herald team five times.

Favourite breed of cattle and sheep?

The Limousin are my favourite cattle breed. I love the Aberdeen Angus also and that is why I got into them, but my true passion would be with the Limousin. They just have it all really!

With regards to sheep I am going to say Blue Texels as that’s the breed I have just bought for my first ever pedigree sheep flock, however I haven’t had any lambs yet so maybe ask me again come spring if I still think that!

Best party?

The best ones tend to be the ones you can’t remember!

I’m going to say the 2018 Royal Highland Show. After I had won the Angus title, one of my closest friends, Gareth Small, had won the commercials and we were both on cloud nine.

We went to the supermarket and bought half the shop, spending more than the prize money we had just won and brought it back to the cattle lines, where all of our friends joined us for a celebratory drink, or 10! But, the winning is only worthwhile if you have the people to share it with.