FOUR STALWARTS of North-east farming were honoured at the annual awards lunch of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society.

More than 250 guests were welcomed by the society’s chairman, Keith Walker, and enjoyed a three-course lunch with a main course of roast beef supplied by sponsors, ABP Perth.

“We had a wealth of talent nominated in all four categories of the awards which made the selection of recipients very difficult for the judging panel,” said Mr Walker. “We have finished up with four very deserving recipients for these prestigious awards.”

The award for outstanding service to the industry was presented to well-known farmer, pedigree cattle breeder, housebuilder, after-dinner speaker and raconteur, Malcolm Allan, of Uppermill, Kintore, who has hosted two major on-farm events for the society over the years and is a strong supporter of initiatives to encourage youngsters in the industry, particularly the Royal Northern Countryside Initiative.

The Aberdeen and Northern Marts award for outstanding service on a more local basis was presented to George Mearns, founder and director of Turriff Agri-Parts Ltd, who this year celebrate 40 years in business, by ANM Group chairman, Pete Watson, while former president and long-time treasurer of the Deeside Agricultural Association, organisers of the annual Banchory Show, Gordon Christie, received the Argo family’s Unsung Hero award which was presented by Mr Walker.

The 35-and-under award was handed over by Prof Caroline Argo, from sponsors, SRUC, to research scientist and Aberdeen University graduate, Dr Jenna Ross, daughter of Brian and Alison Ross, who farm at Craskins, Tarland, who has emerged as a recognised world-wide expert in the control of slugs and snails which do so much damage to crops all over the world. Jenna currently works at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire but is continuing joint research projects with Aberdeen University and Stellenbosch University in South Africa where she worked for six years.

The agricultural apprentice awards, sponsored by Clydesdale Bank, were presented by the bank’s agricultural director, Brian Richardson, to Oliver Pirie, Castle of Auchry, Turriff (in the category for farmer’s son or daughter working at home) and Paul Duguid, 115 Gairn Terrace, Aberdeen, who is studying for his BSc (Hons) degree at SRUC Aberdeen and helps Stuart Wood with his Woodies Beltex flock at Westhill (in the employee category) and the agricultural engineering award, sponsored by Turriff Agri-Parts Ltd, was presented by George Mearns to David Scott Rosin, Milton of Culsh, Tarland, an apprentice with Ravenhill at Dyce.