SAYFC enjoyed a thriving weekend between November 10 – 12, as they held the annual Agri & Rural Affairs Conference at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston. It was not a weekend to be missed, with the focus on Sustainability, the schedule including farm tours, panels and breakout sessions.

Kicking off on Friday evening was the ‘YF Centre Send Off Dinner and Panel Night’. The panel ‘Success Through Sustainability’, supported by Johnston Carmichael, covered the topic of sustainable practises that can help benefit land and livestock whilst considering costs. Many aspects were covered with regard to reliance on traditional subsidies, the process of natural processes in farm systems and a shift in perspective on what and who we produce for.

The Scottish Farmer: Cloud Farming, East LothianCloud Farming, East Lothian

Panellist Nikki Yoxall highlighted; “For me, it’s about seeing nature and natural systems as a key member of the team on the farm, it can do the heavy lifting for us if we just let it.”

Saturday involved farm tours of the ‘Roslin Institute’, the ‘Moredun Foundation’ and ‘Cloud Farming’. Where attendees learnt about a range of topics such as upcoming research and developments being made within Roslin Institute, Virtual Reality technology and an insightful view of sustainable farming methods within an arable operation, contracting and consultancy business.

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Moving into the afternoon with highly informative breakout sessions covering drone technology, biomass diversification, subsidies, soil health and farm safety. The evening commenced with the SAYFC’s annual Five Star Awards, allowing members and supporters to be recognised and celebrated.

Sunday saw a tour of the Black Family farm at Mawmill Farm, Kinross. It consists of a mixed arable and potato farm, including biomass, solar and heat pumps. As well as the most recent venture of a ‘Pawmill’, a dog park.

The Scottish Farmer: Moredun Foundation meetingMoredun Foundation meeting

National Agri and Rural Affairs Chair John McCulloch summarised the weekend; “We have had a fantastic weekend at Ingliston for our Agri and Rural Affairs conference 2023, focussed around the theme of Sustainability. It was massively important for us to follow this theme this year, with making businesses more sustainable and resilient, being the focus of many farmers up and down the country in these challenging times. We welcomed exchanges from Northern Ireland, Wales and England. SAYFC Agri and Rural Affairs continues to be the leading voice for young people in rural Scotland and we have many events coming up in the next few months.”

SAYFC wish to thank event sponsors Johnston Carmichael, SGN, Galbraith and The Royal Bank of Scotland for their support in a successful conference.