SIXTEEN young farmers have graduated from the Cultivating Leaders Programme, following a series of workshops and guidance sessions over the last few months – aimed at equipping young farmers with the necessary tools to prepare for the future of Scottish agriculture.

The graduates gathered on the final day of the course at The Royal George Hotel in Perth, where they delivered individual presentations on their future plans and reflected on what they had learnt during the course.

Sarah Walker, a member of Machars YFC commented: “Cultivating leaders has given me a huge insight into agricultural business, the importance of wills and succession plans, creating five-year goals, but also how to put them into place and make sure you achieve them,” she explained. “I found the Royal Bank of Scotland’s case study questions and the layout of the different calculations, for example, of gross output, finance charges etc, extremely helpful; especially by doing it in small groups, where everyone had to take part and understand.”

Peter Duthie of Garioch JAC added: “A fantastic opportunity for any SAYFC members, with presentations tailored by the delivery partners to suit the group’s needs. Everyone is sure to leave on the final day having learnt a great deal – this was certainly the case this year,” he enthused.

Young people within the industry are increasingly being required to highlight their leadership and business skills to future employees, sources of funding and their peers. On completing this course, these future farmers can invest in their own businesses, but also in themselves; preparing for the barriers that can arise from the ever-changing nature of farming.

The group activities covered; leadership, visions and goals, succession planning, business management (cash flows, accounts, budgets and understanding the market place), practical applications and presentations (tenancies, bank loans, long term business plans).

Those gaining their accolade on the finale day included; Michael Scott (East Lothian YFC), James Gemmell (Mauchline YFC), Matthew McOuat (Strathearn JAC), Joanna Foubister (Echt YFC), Gordon Pate (Peebleshire JAC), Sarah Walker (Machars YFC), Douglas Pate (East Lothian YFC), Amy-Jo Reid (Udny JAC), James Orr (Avondale YFC), Adam Lindsay (Carluke YFC), Sarah-Jane Urquhart (SSS YFC), David Comrie (Bankfoot JAC), Peter Duthie (Garioch JAC), James Orr (Bell Baxter JAC), Matthew Steel (Forfar JAC) and Andrew McGregor (Carluke YFC).