SAOS Conference and Ed Rainy Brown Award presentation

Alistair Ewan receiving his award from Katy Rainy Brown
Lorraine Macrae

The annual Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) Member’s Day and Conference was held at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire on 28 January.

Around 100 delegates were treated to a stimulating mix of guest speaker presentations, interactive debate, practical advice and networking opportunities.

Delegates discussed the importance of technical and business knowledge exchange with Angela Tregear and Sarah Cooper of Edinburgh University Business School in the context of a study into four Scottish marketing cooperatives and later David Cooper of Tardoes Farm in Muirkirk gave an inspiring presentation on his experience of developing a thriving sheep farm enterprise.

After lunch a number of presentations across the sectors gave a flavour of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Scottish agriculture. Justin McCarthy of the Irish Farmers Journal outlined his views on the positive future for the production of premium protein for a developing global market. Andrew Gilchrist from Scottish Agronomy discussed the importance of collaboration and innovation in Scottish arable. A different perspective on farm credit was given by Bill Wilson who had flown in from Colorado to explain the American experience of credit cooperatives.  Economist Peter Cook saw increasing opportunities for cooperation in terms of farmer-led, farmer-friendly knowledge transfer.

A question and answer session was followed by dinner where the annual Ed Rainy Brown Award for exceptional contribution to the industry was presented to Alistair Ewan. A leading figure in Scotland’s agricultural vegetable sector, Mr Ewan was, until recently, Managing Director of East of Scotland Growers.

SAOS Chairman, George Lowrie explained: "Alistair's contribution to East of Scotland Growers and the wider industry has been immense - both continue to benefit from innovative production techniques and the development of new varieties and products which Alistair drove and pioneered."

Visit the SAOS website for more information, including presentations from the event.