RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards 2023 open for entries

Press release: 30th March 2023

RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards 2023 Now Open For Entries

Scotland’s leaders in sustainable food and farming can now enter to win a prestigious Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Award, as the awards programme returns following its successful launch last year.

The 10 awards categories of the RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards 2023 are now open for entries and nominations, to celebrate people and businesses throughout Scotland’s farming and food industry who have placed environmental sustainability at the heart of what they do. Entries will close on 19th May 2023. RBST is the national charity working to support the survival of the UK’s rare native livestock and equine breeds, and RBST Scotland represents and supports RBST members throughout Scotland.

The winners of the 10 categories will receive their awards at a ceremony during the Royal Highland Show on Thursday 22nd June 2023. The winners of each category will be chosen from the entrants by two expert food and farming judging panels led by RBST Chairman, native breed farmer John Atkinson, and Chair of RBST Scotland Steve McMinn.

RBST Vice President Scotland Martin Beard, who farms with native breeds in Angus, said: “We are delighted to bring back the RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards in 2023. This year marks 50 years since RBST’s foundation and it is a great occasion to celebrate the businesses and people leading the resurgence of sustainable food and farming in Scotland. The standard of entries was extremely high for our inaugural awards last year and I am really looking forward to sharing again the achievements and dedication of the farmers, butchers, chefs and retailers who each play an essential part in sustainable food and farming with our versatile and unique native livestock breeds.”

The winners of the 2023 awards will follow in the footsteps of the winners of last year’s inaugural awards including Alice Lennox of Doonies Farm (Rare Breeds Survival Trust Champion of the Year 2022); Ronnie Eunson of Uradale Farm, Shetland (Sustainable Farm of the Year 2022); Jane Cooper of the Orkney Boreray Community (Sustainable Food Producer of the Year 2022); and Jock Gibson of Macbeth Butchers (Sustainable Produce Retail Outlet of the Year 2022).

The 10 categories now open for entries for the RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards 2023 are:

  • Sustainable Farm of the Year (sponsored by Galbraith Group)
  • Sustainable Small Farm of the Year (sponsored by The Scottish Smallholder Festival)
  • Sustainable Food Producer of the Year (sponsored by Scotland Food & Drink)
  • Sustainable Butcher or Wholesaler of the Year
  • Sustainable Chef of the Year (sponsored by Scottish Food Guide)
  • Sustainable Produce Retail Outlet of the Year (sponsored by SAC Consulting)
  • Sustainable Market of the Year *new category for 2023*
  • Native Breed Society of the Year
  • Sustainable Farming Influencer of the Year (sponsored by Ledingham Chalmers) *new category for 2023*
  • Rare Breeds Survival Trust Champion of the Year (sponsored by Rare Breeds Survival Trust)

Entries are free and paperless, the initial online entry form can be downloaded at www.rbstscotland.org and must be submitted to entry@rbstscotlandawards.com by 19th May 2023 . Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to submit a video submission for the final round of judging. Nominations can either be submitted by third parties or by the nominees themselves. For full details on each of the categories, the application process and the judging panel visit www.rbstscotland.org.

To find out more and complete the online entry form, visit www.rbstscotland.org

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MEDIA CONTACT

For more information, images or RBST interview requests please contact Isobel Davidson, isobel@isobeldavidson.co.uk or 07725 470917

NOTES TO EDITORS

RBST

  • Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) is the sole charity dedicated to promoting and preserving the UKs rare and native breeds of farm livestock. Started in 1973, RBST monitors numbers of animals, and threats of inbreeding and geographical concentration. It promotes the breeding and registration of rare and native breeds. Through its 4,500 members, staff and support groups it provides a network of knowledge to support and encourage breeders to reduce these threats. See the website www.rbst.org.uk.
  • The latest RBST Watchlist was published in April 2021, it can be found at www.rbst.org.uk

Conference Success

Press release: 24th March 2023

Conference Report: Native Breeds for Future of Scottish Food and Environment

Native livestock breeds will be key over the coming decades to commercially viable agriculture systems that support both food production and environmental sustainability, speakers agreed at the RBST (Rare Breeds Survival Trust) Scotland sustainable farming conference yesterday (23 March 2023).

More than 120 farmers, smallholders and food producers gathered yesterday at Bowhouse in Fife for the ‘Farm to Fork – a new, sustainable perspective’ conference to explore sustainable solutions to the challenges Scottish agriculture is facing. The conference was hosted by RBST Scotland in partnership with Balcaskie Estate, and sponsored by Galbraith Group, SAC Consulting and Benson Accountants.

Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, delivered the keynote speech. She said: “The Scottish Government wholly supports genetic diversity – most notably in building resilience to climate change. Future livestock may well benefit from rare breed genetics, in our goal to achieving greater productivity, without increasing greenhouse gases. The RBST is working hard to support rare breed numbers to be preserved, maintained, and increased. While great progress has already been made, due to a range of challenges, there are still too many breeds on the watchlist.

“As well as being highlights of our past, to look back on with pride, these breeds, alongside the land upon which they live, must also remain a clear part of our future, as we look ahead to a net-zero nation. We look forward to engaging with the RBST and industry partners as we work together to save some of the most cherished and fundamental parts of our heritage – sustaining our agricultural assets, and protecting our rare breeds.”

RBST Vice President Scotland Martin Beard said: The RBST Scotland Farm to Fork conference has clearly demonstrated that we do not have to choose between a viable agricultural industry and supporting the natural environment. Bred over centuries for Scotland’s landscapes and conditions, our hardy and low input native breeds of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry offer commercially viable food production that also supports many of our most urgent environmental challenges such as restoring soil health and biodiversity. The conference gave farmers, smallholders and food producers an important forum for valuable discussions about the path to a sustainable future and the experiences of farming with native breeds that we heard about at the conference, and the depth of debate and discussion among speakers and delegates, is really encouraging for the future.

We welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s assurances in her keynote speech that the Scottish Government fully recognises how important the genetic diversity of our native breeds is to our shared vision for sustainable local food supply chains and is looking at inclusion of support for animal genetic resources in the Agriculture Bill. We look forward to working with Ministers to ensure the discussions of today translate into tangible and significant support for thriving native breeds.”

Speakers and delegates discussed topics including soil health, restoring biodiversity, a way forward on carbon, improving the livestock food chain and marketing farm produce. The discussions concluded that the nature of farming is changing, with native breeds able play a major role in a more sustainable future for food production and the environment, but that developing skills and close collaboration between industry and Government will be essential.

The conference was chaired by Claire Saunders, RBST Trustee and Chair of RBST’s Conservation & Research Committee. Other speakers included Ceri Ritchie (SAC Consulting), David McKay (Soil Association), Sascha Grierson (Hugh Grierson Organic), John Armour (Scottish Government), Prof Tim Morris (RBST), Doug Christie (Durie Farm), Rosemary Champion (The Accidental Smallholder), Nikki Yoxall (Grampian Graziers), Roger Baird (Scottish Organic Producers Association) and Adam Forrest (Scotland Food & Drink), among others.

During the conference, RBST Chief Executive Christopher Price announced the return of the RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards for 2023, following the success of the inaugural RBST Scotland awards in 2022. More information about the awards in 2023, and how to enter, to follow soon.

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MEDIA CONTACT

 

For more information, interviews or images: Isobel Davidson, isobel@isobeldavidson.co.uk or 07725 470917

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

  1. Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) is the sole charity dedicated to promoting and preserving all the UKs rare and native breeds of farm livestock. Started in 1973, RBST monitors numbers of animals, and threats of inbreeding and geographical concentration. It promotes the breeding and registration of rare and native breeds. Through its 4,500 members, staff and support groups it provides a network of knowledge to support and encourage breeders to reduce these threats. See the website www.rbst.org.uk.

 

  1. Native breeds provide a major contribution to our rural economy, both economic and culturally. There are around 30,000 herds and flocks of native breeds in the UK. They contribute over £700 million to UK local economies.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands to give keynote speech at conference

Press release: 28th February 2023

Cabinet Secretary Announced as Keynote Speaker for RBST Scotland Sustainable Farming Conference

Mairi Gougeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, will discuss how future policy will help put sustainability at the heart of Scottish farming in a keynote speech at RBST (Rare Breeds Survival Trust) Scotland’s sustainable farming conference.

Taking place on 23 March 2023 at Bowhouse in Fife, RBST Scotland’s ‘Farm to Fork – a new, sustainable perspective’ conference will explore sustainable solutions to the challenges Scottish agriculture is facing. Expert speakers and delegates will examine key challenges and opportunities in the transition to a future for Scottish farming where environmental sustainability goes hand in hand with food production.

The conference will be hosted by RBST in partnership with Balcaskie Estate, and sponsored by Galbraith Group, SAC Consulting and Benson Accountants. As well as the Cabinet Secretary, the programme will also feature Christopher Price (RBST), Ceri Ritchie (SAC Consulting), David McKay (Soil Association), Prof Tim Morris (RBST), Doug Christie (Durie Farm), Johnnie Balfour (Pasture Fed Livestock Association), Nikki Yoxall (Grampian Grazers), Roger Baird (Scottish Organic Producers Association) and Adam Forrest (Scotland Food & Drink) among others. See the programme for the day at rbstscotland.org/rbst-scotland-spring-conference.

Martin Beard, RBST Vice President Scotland, said: “I am delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands will be speaking at RBST Scotland’s Farm to Fork conference, as we mark in 2023 the 50thanniversary of RBST’s formation. Scottish agriculture faces major challenges over the coming decades, and Government and farmers exploring priorities and perspectives together is crucial to setting the right course towards sustainable farming.

“There is no choice to be made between food production and environmental sustainability, the two depend on each another. This conference will help identify sustainable solutions for challenges such as soil health, carbon and future-proofing Scottish farming, and the significant contributions that our native livestock breeds can make. This is a definitive event for anyone with an interest in a sustainable and profitable future for agriculture in Scotland. Tickets are now open, book your place so that you don’t miss out.”

The event will be chaired by Claire Saunders, RBST Trustee and Chair of RBST’s Conservation & Research Committee. The conference sessions will cover six main themes:

  • Future proofing farming: looking to 2040
  • Soil: rebuilding fertility
  • Biodiversity: reclaiming the balance
  • Carbon: the way forward
  • The livestock food chain: room for improvement
  • Farmers as marketers: adding value

The conference will run from 9am to 5pm on 23 March, followed by a drinks reception until 6pm. Tickets are £30 + VAT and can be booked at https://rbstscotland.org/conference-tickets.

For more information visit rbstscotland.org/rbst-scotland-spring-conference.

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MEDIA CONTACT

 

For more information, interviews or images: Isobel Davidson, isobel@isobeldavidson.co.uk or 07725 470917

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

  1. Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) is the sole charity dedicated to promoting and preserving all the UKs rare and native breeds of farm livestock. Started in 1973, RBST monitors numbers of animals, and threats of inbreeding and geographical concentration. It promotes the breeding and registration of rare and native breeds. Through its 4,500 members, staff and support groups it provides a network of knowledge to support and encourage breeders to reduce these threats. See the website www.rbst.org.uk.

 

  1. Native breeds provide a major contribution to our rural economy, both economic and culturally. There are around 30,000 herds and flocks of native breeds in the UK. They contribute over £700 million to UK local economies.

Panel Chair – Roger Baird

Roger has over 40 years’ experience trading conventional/organic grains and pulses, with the majority of his previous focus supplying the Scottish Whisky industry. He now mainstreams on organics and is heavily involved in two start-up companies. These collectively will separate multiple crops, de-corticate grains and pulses, then further processing by air fractionation, providing protein and starch concentrates. At every stage the aim is to have minimal Carbon Footprint, with Carbon Negative products as an outcome. He was recently appointed chair of SOPA.

Roger will be chairing the panel “Carbon – the whole story” at the conference.

Panel Chair – Johnnie Balfour

Johnnie Balfour is Chair of Pasture For Life and Managing Partner of
Balbirnie Home Farms in Fife. At Balbirnie, there is a commercial herd of
suckler beef cattle and they have recently purchased 3 traditional angus
bulls in order to decrease frame size and increase ruminant capacity of the
herd. Johnnie champions mob grazing and holistic management as tools for
farmers to reduce inputs and increase profitability.

Johnnie will be chairing the panel

“Why Biodiversity matters to the way we farm”

Panel Chair – Adam Forrest

As Organics Development Manager at Scotland Food & Drink, Adam’s role has an initial focus on assessing the opportunities and challenges facing the Scottish organic sector and putting forward plans to develop it. Prior to this he managed a small organic community farm and market garden near Edinburgh, with a veg bag scheme, layer enterprise and rural skills programme for young people. Adam has worked in commercial roles in food and drink across independent retailers, food service and multiples. Having studied Environmental Resource Management at SRUC, he has a keen interest in the interplay between our relationship with food and our environment.

Adam will be chairing the panel session on the “Livestock Food Chain”

Panel Chair – Ceri Ritchie

Ceri is Head of Food and Enterprise at SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), and undertakes project work for a variety of clients across Scotland. With 37 years’ management and marketing experience in the UK food & drink supply chain Ceri has recently focussed on local food & drink, food tourism, rural enterprise and entrepreneurship.

With an understanding of what drives consumer behaviour and key industry challenges such as climate change and sustainability, Ceri provides strategic advice to a range of businesses and organisations. As an established and well-respected project manager Ceri also project manages the Scottish Government’s Veterinary Services Programme and managed Connect Local, the Scottish Government’s Local Food & Drink Marketing Advisory Service (2016 to 2020).

Prior to joining SAC Consulting Ceri worked in the UK grocery multiple sector as a Category Manager (and prior to that a Senior Buyer, Buyer and Product Manager) for the Cooperative Wholesale Society. These roles provide considerable insight and background knowledge that Ceri brings to her current role.

Ceri will be chairing the panel “Why Farmers need to be Marketers”

Panel Chair – Prof. Tim Morris

Professor Tim Morris has extensive experience across veterinary medicine, commerce, professional and voluntary activities, coupled with a longstanding interest and involvement with native breeds of livestock, Tim also keeps Southdown sheep.

Tim is a non-executive member on Defra’s Animal Health and Welfare Board for England and has been a Trustee and Chair of several charities over the years, as well as a Director of several companies.

Tim is a Trustee of RBST, and will be chairing the panel on “The Farm of 2040”

Panel Chair – David McKay

David is Head of Policy for Scotland at the Soil Association, leading on the research, development and advocacy of the charity’s policy positions on food, farming and land use north of the border. He also sits on the secretariat of the Scottish Organic Stakeholders Group and the Scottish Environment LINK Food and Farming group. David is in the final year of an MSc in Organic Farming at SRUC and is an organically certified vegetable grower based in north-east Scotland.

David will be chairing the panel on “Soil – The Basis of Everything”