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Young farmers gear up for Royal Highland Show

Young farmers at the Royal Highland Show
Young farmers at the Royal Highland Show

Young farmers from across the country are warming up for the biggest event in their annual calendar.

Members from the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) will descend on the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh, later this month to battle it out in a range of competitions for all ages and interests.

Activities start the weekend prior to the show – which takes place on June 19-22 – as teams bring their art and craft entries to the Young Farmers Centre.

For the junior members, their competition theme, A Dog’s Life, requires them to produce a number of items suitable for our canine friends including a dog collar and quilted dog jacket.

The theme for the seniors is Walk in the Countryside and members must use decoupage, floral art and their knitting skills to create their final pieces.

The results and displays are kept under wraps until the opening day of the show, where visitors will also be able to view the catwalk couture and photography entries.

For those with a flair for cooking under pressure, the Ready Steady Country Cooks competition will be put their imagination to the test with a range of ingredients that challenges them to produce a meal. Here the stage will also be set for some well-known faces within the agricultural industry who dare to challenge an SAYFC team.

The introduction of the new Farming Challenge competition will ask members to use their brains and brawn to resolve a range of tasks that they may face on the farm. To add to the excitement, competitors will not know what they are facing until they enter the show ring on the Friday afternoon.

The traditional sheep shearing competition is another Friday afternoon activity as young farmers shear Blackface and Scotch Mule ewes using the fewest number of strokes, in the quickest time and with the cleanest cut.

The weekend wouldn’t be the same without the highly atmospheric tug o war competition, which will see the teams of six take to the rings on the Saturday afternoon.

However, the highlight of the show is the stockmanship programme, this year sponsored by Harbro.

Commencing first thing on the Saturday, members will be judging dairy, beef and sheep. Once they return, members have two minutes one-to-one with the judges to deliver their reasons on two of the breeds in each class – Jersey and Holstein in the dairy, Limousin and Hereford in the beef and Border Leicester and Beltex for the sheep. The judges will then score the members and deliberate on the best team, best pair and best overall individual.

Away from the competition scene, the young farmers centre is a welcoming area for members past, present and future.

There will be the addition of a new members area where individuals can find out more about the movement and how to get involved.

The powerful Farmers Wives and Fermers Choir will deliver a short performance as SAYFC launches a CD of music, raising money for the Willie Davidson 75th Anniversary Fund, which will be available to buy at the shop stand with the cookbook and a range of other items.

Take a short walk from the centre and you will find young farmers dressed in their sports clothing on the RBS stand, raising money for RSABI. This year there are no bikes, treadmills or rowing machines but instead the stand will see kayaks as the challenge.

With SAYFC announcing earlier this year that its membership is at its highest since 1999, the organisation says there is a real sense that the invaluable social network is continuing to strive with the members at the heart.

“The Royal Highland Show will be an excellent opportunity to see hundreds of members in action as they proudly promote their involvement in Young Farmers,” said SAYFC communications and rural affairs manager Rebecca Dawes.


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