CHRISTMAS HAS finally arrived in Perthshire this week, heralded by the district’s fantastic Young Farmers’ panto over the past three nights.

The weekend run by the district, showed off the best things about our organisation; the new skills you can learn, the friendships you can make and the community you become part of.

The cast will have performed in front of almost 600 people from all over Scotland during the past week, with the cast and the audience knowing the majority of one another. This community is one of my favourite things about the young farmers and one of the most valuable, that will stay with you once you age out of the organisation.

For many junior members, young farmers is their first opportunity to meet people who have similar interests and almost certainly, the first time that they are in an environment where age is not one of the factors of friendship.

If I look at my friendship group now, there are few from my high school days and most from who I have met through Young Farmers. Looking to the older generation, it’s funny to see how many of their closest friends remain those who they met while they were a member of Young Farmers.

The skills and confidence the cast will have gained over the past three months of preparation will be invaluable for them, and not just in the form of a new hobby.

Remember, not one of the cast is a professional (which is hard to believe with the quality of the show they put on – Talent Spot worthy even according to one ‘Westie’). They are more often found in a boiler suit at the end of a fork looking after their stock with only the collie dog to listen to them sing.

The fact they now have the confidence to perform in front of their friends and family, an interview panel or a 21st speech will be child’s play to them.

One of the biggest things they will have learned, is that dedication and hard work pay dividends. Preparing for the panto is one of the most intense and time-consuming things you can do in young farmers, but what a show they put together and it looks like they had a great time doing it!

To round up, I am going to stick with the Christmas theme and quote a wise man; Victor McDade (Still Game) ‘He who hingeth aboot getteth hee-haw’. You don’t remember the nights you sat on your couch at home, Young Farmers has so much to offer, all you have to do is get involved!

PS: I want to thank all those people who support the Young Farmers, whether it be through coaching, hosting events or even just pushing someone to go along to a local club meeting. You are invaluable to our organisation and help make it the fantastic association that it is.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a brilliant 2020.