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Gold for Ross at Pinnacle Awards

Published Wednesday, 30th April 2014 in Study at SRUC news

Ross Learmonth - Pinnacle Awards

Ross Learmonth, a third year BSc Agriculture student from Methlick in Aberdeenshire, took the Gold Award in the seventeenth Pinnacle Business Management awards, held in the Farmers Club in London.

The Awards give students planning to work in the agricultural industry an opportunity to demonstrate their potential and develop innovative, competitive and realistic business strategies that also meet wider environmental requirements. The projects submitted are normally part of their course work and represent 50% of the total mark, with a 10 minute presentation and judges' questions earning 25% each.

“I am just a simple country lad from rural Aberdeenshire”, said Ross, who studies at SRUC’s Craibstone Campus. “I did not know what to expect and was a bit uncertain. But it was good fun and a real learning experience. I enjoyed meeting the other candidates as well as the trip to London.”

Some £6,000 of prize money was available through the Cave Foundation, with administrative and other support provided by ADAS and the Farmers Club. The judging team comprised Chairman Prof David Leaver, ADAS consultant Tony Turner, Farmers Club Chairman Jimmy McLean, Farmers Club past Chairman and Cave Foundation representative Roy Walker, with Farmers Club Journal Editor Charles Abel who said:

“Ross impressed the judges with his robust and well thought out business case study, his strong interview performance and a particularly engaging and clear final presentation.”

Ross’ presentation was based on a planning and budgeting exercise carried out as part of his course work. It was based on a farm where the owners were supposed to have stepped back from day to day involvement. Although soft fruit is their main business Ross had identified ways of improving returns from the arable parts of the farm and the introduction of a new sheep enterprise. Ross and his SRUC tutors are grateful to Murray Mitchell at Castleton farm Fordoun, who hosted the case study – without stepping back from his day to day work!

As winner he received the Nickerson Cup, and the Farmers Club Gold Student Pinnacle Award of £2,000. All the finalists receive a year’s subscription to the Farmers Club in Whitehall and their college receives £300 towards expenses.

The second SRUC entry was from BSc Agric Joseph Williams from Tiree, studying at SRUC’s Ayr riverside campus. His presentation was based on a goat farm which was in turn a management skills and entrepreneurship module group project. Joseph had previously been one of the winners at Agriscot.

“Coming from an island the visit to Whitehall, where the Farmers Club is, was a bit of an eye opener. The competition was tough and Ross deserved to win but I found the competition very worthwhile and rewarding.” 

The Silver award winner was Will Brown from University of Reading and the Bronze went to Beth Duchesne of Harper Adams University.

Photo caption: The award was presented by guest of honour Ian Piggott, a Hertfordshire arable farmer who created Open Farm Sunday and is now a Farmers Weekly columnist and chairman of FACE.

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