A young pig farm manager has been praised for her commitment to the industry by the Royal Northern Agricultural Society (RNAS).
Chloe Shorten, who manages an indoor pig unit near Huntly, is this year’s winner of the RNAS 35 Years and Under Award.
The award, which is sponsored by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), is given to a person in that age group who has shown significant achievement and contribution to agriculture.
In one of the citations for the award, Ms Shorten is praised for her “outstanding work, commitment and determination in the pig industry”.
Another describes the 22-year-old as someone who would “give up anything to help the pigs as she is so compassionate”.
Ms Shorten, who doesn’t come from a farming background, has been working in the pig industry for five years and she manages an indoor sow unit for the Innes family at Dunscroft, near Huntly.
The unit focuses on producing gilts for JSR Genetics, with all boars finished on another unit run by the Innes family.
Ms Shorten says she is passionate about pigs and ensuring the animals under her care are reared to the highest welfare standards.
One of the citations for Ms Shorten winning the award pays tribute to this and says: “Chloe never leaves the farrowing rooms during farrowing week and works long hours to ensure every piglet has a brilliant life.
“She travels 17 miles back and forth (from Keith where she lives) in the early hours to keep an eye on everything, to split suckle new litters and hand-feed piglets milked colostrum to ensure sufficient intake and reduce the mortality to lower than the industry’s average.”
As well as working on the farm, Ms Shorten is studying for an agricultural degree part-time at SRUC, and she is involved in various initiatives including the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation and training schemes through the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
She also showcases her work and the high welfare standards on the farm on social media via her TikTok account @thatswinelass.
Ms Shorten said: “I want to show that the animals are happy – I keep making pig videos and try to promote the industry and educate the public.”
As well as winning the RNAS award, Ms Shorten is in the running for two industry awards – the farm worker of the year award at this year’s British Farming Awards and the young pig farmer accolade in this year’s National Pig Awards.
On her awards success and nominations, Ms Shorten said: “I am over the moon and ecstatic at this award as I feel I can represent my industry, which isn’t spoken about much, and prove how challenging and thrilling it is. I can then highlight the joys you get from caring for all the pigs, young and old.”
She added: “It’s very important to me that young people, and especially females and non-agricultural ones, realise there are loads of opportunities out there.
“I also believe if it wasn’t for my current employer, James Innes, who had faith in me, I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d be given this chance.”
Ms Shorten will receive her RNAS award at a special lunch at Jury’s Inn at Aberdeen Airport on November 5.