A leading pedigree sheep breeder from the north-east has been awarded one of the livestock industry’s most prestigious awards by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).
Jimmy Douglas, 77, of Woodhead of Cairness, Fraserburgh, is this year’s recipient of the Sir William Young Award which recognises outstanding contribution to livestock breeding.
Mr Douglas, who is famed for breeding pedigree Suffolk, Texel and Border Leicester sheep, has been farming at Cairness since 1960 – the same year he started the Cairness Suffolk flock.
His interest in livestock started at a young age and he used to help his father at Milton of Clola, near Mintlaw, with his flock of Border Leicesters and it was from there that he adopted the Clola prefix for his own flock.
Mr Douglas has been selling rams for 67 years in a row and in 1960 he was achieving 1,200gn at a time when 200gn was regarded a fair price.
His sheep regularly sell at above-average prices and in 1994 he set a new Suffolk breed record selling Cairness Court to John Sinnet for 26,000gn.
Mr Douglas has also been known to pay record-breaking prices and in 2009 he set the world record for the highest-priced Texel sheep when he paid 220,000gn for Deveronvale Perfection.
In 1995 he set a breed record at the time when he paid 68,000gn for Muiresk King of Diamonds, which was the sire of his famous ewe K55.
Mr Douglas’s Suffolk flock has enjoyed the most success, dominating the breed for 30 years, and the north-east flockmaster has achieved 12 champions and three reserve champion titles at the National Suffolk Sale and six champions and five reserves at the Edinburgh, now Stirling, sale.
Cairness breeding is present in the Suffolk breed’s two top-priced sheep – the £90,000 Ardlea Ardbenning and the £75,000 Stockton Almighty.
In his citation, Angus Howie, who nominated Mr Douglas for the award, said: “Jimmy is still as passionate today as he was 50 years ago. His contribution to sheep breeding is immense: he is a highly talented individual and the most prolific and consistent Suffolk sheep breeder of our generation.
“His whole life has been the pursuit of perfection. His attention to detail is second to none. At the age of 77, he shows no signs of slowing down.”