Farmers demonstrate ‘who dares wins’ spirit

"Red shepherdess Hannah Jackson will be one of the speakers at the New Entrants to Farming Gathering"

A shepherdess, an entrepreneur who created an outdoor centre and a gin producer, will speak at an annual event highlighting the diverse range of options open to new or aspiring farmers.

The New Entrants to Farming Gathering will feature presentations from a range of speakers, including adventure-loving shepherdess Hannah Jackson, Duncan McConchie of Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre and Drovers Gin producer Jenny McKerr.

Organised under the Scottish Government’s Farm Advisory Service (FAS) programme, and delivered by specialists from SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College, the gathering is open to anyone with an interest in the future of Scottish agriculture.

The event, which is being held at Perth Race Course on Tuesday 25 February, will highlight opportunities within farming and outline the kind of skills needed to succeed in the sector.

Hannah Jackson – known as @Redshepherdess – swapped Merseyside for the rural hills of Cumbria after completing a degree in animal behaviour.

She was a finalist in the 2018 Young Farmer of the Year competition and is an active ambassador for the farming industry, as well as being an adventurer and media star – becoming one of the first women to complete the selection process for the reality TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins.

Duncan McConchie, whose outdoor adventure and recreational centre in Dumfries and Galloway employs 80 people in the peak season and attracts visitors from all over the world, said: “We diversified as we had three sons at home and we needed to make the business sustainable for future generations.

“It's been tough, fun, rewarding, challenging, but things are forever changing.”

Former SRUC Agriculture student Jenny McKerr worked in the Scotch Beef industry before she, and her husband Stephen, bought their small beef and sheep farm in South Lanarkshire. The couple have diversified the business by converting a milking byre into The Wee Farm Distillery.

She said: “I will be talking about my journey from a 13-year career in the Scotch Beef industry to risking everything to buy a small farm in Lanarkshire to do what we love.

“Three years on, we have established beef and sheep enterprises, built a distillery on the farm and grown an agricultural fencing business to build a successful, diverse farming business.”

Other speakers include Andrew Wells, who is responsible for 37,000 hectares of the Crown Estate’s rural and coastal land, Rodney Wallace, Agriculture Director for HSBC in south west Scotland, SAC consultants Robert Ramsay and Kirsten Williams and SRUC’s Agricultural Economist Steven Thomson.

Kirsten, who will chair the event, said: “Our fantastic line-up of speakers will demonstrate how channelling your drive and motivation, as well as taking a risk, can lead to fantastic opportunities.”

To book a place, contact SAC Consulting, St Boswells, on 01835 823 322 or email

Posted by SRUC on 04/02/2020

Tags: SAC Consulting, Rural Business, Events and Webinars
Categories: Consulting and Commercial