Three students from Scotland’s Rural College are among eight finalists shortlisted in the 2019 Farmers Club Pinnacle Awards.
Third-year students Julie Mackenzie and Charlotte Bailey, who are studying Rural Business Management at SRUC’s Ayr campus, and Ian Buchanan, who studies Agriculture at the Aberdeen campus at Craibstone, have been invited to attend the awards event in London on Wednesday 17 April.
The awards for Excellence in Business Management offer full-time university and college students preparing to work in land-based industries a chance to demonstrate their potential and win up to £2,000 in prize money – in addition to £300 for their institution.
The finalists, who were selected after judges assessed coursework sent in by tutors, will each give a presentation and answer questions about their project before the winners are chosen.
Charlotte, from Arran, was part of a group which looked at making mead from Ayrshire honey, and Julie, from East Kilbride, did a project about vegan farming, while fourth-year student Ian’s dissertation is about his free-range pork business.
Charlotte said: “We looked at craft beer and gin which have become really popular, but thought we would go with mead as there was a gap in the market. The idea is to make a mead called Rabbies Mead sourced from local honey suppliers, but eventually to have our own hives.
“I'm excited to have the opportunity to represent the college and expand my knowledge of business in the agri-industry.”
Julie Mackenzie and Charlotte Bailey
The Ka-Boom Sh’rooms business plan developed by Julie’s group looks at meeting the demand for vegan products through the commercial production of the ‘chicken of the woods’ mushroom.
She said: “Our inclusion as finalists in the 2019 Farmers Club Pinnacle Awards is a wonderful opportunity for the whole group to gain national recognition for our hard work.”
Bill Mackay, Programme Team Leader, said: “The Rural Business Management degree course at Ayr campus has a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. I am pleased that the high level of creativity, combined with genuine commercial application, demonstrated by Charlotte and Julie in module projects has been recognised by them both being shortlisted for a prestigious national business award.”
Ian’s dissertation project explored the potential of his small scale ‘Rootin’ and Roamin’ pork enterprise to provide an income after graduation.
He said: “I am very excited about the opportunity to meet new contacts and expand my business knowledge throughout the process.”
Caroline Daniel, Programme Leader for the Masters Agricultural Professional Practice Programme, said: “Ian has worked hard over the last few months to balance the competing demands of his studies with the increasing success of his free range, rare breed pork business.
“I’m delighted that he’s been selected for the finals which is a fantastic opportunity for him and I wish him every success with the competition.”
All finalists will get a one-year membership of The Farmers Club, with three winners also getting a cash prize of £2,000, £1,000 or £600.