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Aberdeen Student Ross Shows His Agribusiness Acumen

Published Wednesday, 3rd December 2014 in Study at SRUC news

Ross Learmonth

Ross Learmonth, a BSc (Hons) Agriculture student at the Aberdeen Campus of Scotland’s Rural College, was crowned the winner of the AgriScot Business Skills competition during the event at Ingliston.

He follows last year’s winner Joseph Williams from the Isle of Tiree, and studying at SRUC’s Ayr campus.

Ross, a farmers son from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, saw off stiff competition in the North Region heat and then against his two fellow finalists. “I am just thrilled to get this far and delighted to have won,” he said. “At the moment I am keeping my options open for a possible career away from the farm, although I hope to also farm in some shape or form. Hopefully this award will stand me in good stead for whatever I go on to do.”

The Award, which is sponsored by Biocell Agri and organised for Agriscot by both SRUC and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs, is open to 18 to 25 year olds. Entrants submit a CV and a 200-250 word statement on “The importance of determining and monitoring the Unit Cost of Production for a farm enterprise”.

There are then three regional heats on farms in Perthshire, Ayrshire and Aberdeenshire with the host farmer and a banker acting as independent judges. Candidates tour the farm looking at the various enterprises and are challenged to give a critical assessment of what they have been shown. They were also quizzed on topical agricultural matters relating to the host farm and the wider industry.

In the final at Agriscot finalists Ross Learmonth, Alistair MacKintosh (SRUC Edinburgh) and Andrew Taylor (SRUC Ayr, Riverside) faced a panel of agricultural professionals in a question and answer session designed to demonstrate their technical and business knowledge.

Business Skills Award organiser, Lecturer Chris Stockwell, Head of Agriculture with SRUC commented:

“Today we had the strongest three finalists that I have seen in the five years of this competition. It was an extremely difficult decision to pick a winner, all 3 showed such a good range of technical and financial skills.”

The man who presented the £1,000 cheque to the winner was Alec Ross from Biocell. He said:

“We have sponsored these awards for five years now. For anyone to have success in this competition on their CV is fantastic for them. That is why we do it. Our industry is in good heart with this calibre of graduate coming through.”

All three winning Agriculture students are studying for a BSc Honours degree. Thanks were expressed by host farmers - Mike Riddle, Gilmour Lawrie and Andrew Booth – and their fellow judges Roddy McLean of RBS, Rodney Wallace of HSBC and Jane Mitchell from Clydesdale Bank. 

See also Agriculture BSc/Bsc Hons course and studying Agriculture pages.

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