Dumfries to host ‘Integrate, Innovate & Inspire’ Conference!

Dumfries to host ‘Integrate, Innovate & Inspire’ Conference!

Scottish Young Farmers are set to ‘Integrate, Innovate & Inspire’ this winter in Dumfries as 2022’s National Agri and Rural Affairs Conference heads south 18th – 20th November!

The Cairndale Hotel will host the group of Scottish Young Farmers, with tickets now on sale via SAYFC’s online shop. Being hosted and chaired by Udny JAC’s shepherdess and multi-tasking mum of two, Amy Jo Reid – the weekend aims to cover a variety of industry interests and learning opportunities.
Amy recently commented:
We are delighted and excited to bring the highlight of our Agri calendar to Dumfries for the first time; showcasing the very best local farm businesses and speakers the area has to offer. It is set to be a packed weekend of integrating young people from all over Scotland and with leading industry bodies, learning from forward thinking and innovative rural businesses and hearing from some thought-provoking leaders that are sure to leave our delegates encouraged and inspired.

We have some of the finest young minds from Scotland within SAYFC, and companies are excited to invest in and work with us – the conference is a terrific platform to build those connections and encourage the next generation to push the limits of what they think is possible. Young people are the future of our industry and are capable of anything, and Young Farmers Clubs are here to support that.”


Following dinner, the Friday night no doubt will be ‘shear crazy’ with Landward’s man-of-the-moment Cammy Wilson from The Sheep Game being the first of Amy Jo’s panelists. Sticking with the ‘inspiring’ trend setters of social media, the second panelist for the evening is professional foot trimmer Graeme Parker! Known as ‘The Hoof GP’ from Southwest Scotland, Graeme’s Youtube content is enjoyed by over 11 million people globally! Finally, the most local of the panelist is Tracey Roan whose innovation keeps Dumfriesshire towns and villages fueled with sustainably sourced milk from their family business ‘Roan’s Dairies’. Juggling lots of plates and integrating herself throughout the sector, Tracey is also working as NFU Scotland’s regional manager for Dumfries and Galloway.

Inspiring the future farmers of Scotland on Saturday morning at his Thornhill based farm, is Andrew Marchant who began farming a decade ago with a tenancy of Clonhie Farm (part of Buccleuch estate). Not initially eligible to receive a single farm payment, Andrew’s on farm visit will highlight him and his wife’s modifications such as; increasing ewe numbers, introducing a paddock grazing system and their new enterprises in breeding deer hinds for venison production and undertaking a joint venture with the estate in Luing cattle. The tour will discuss how Andrew and Aileen’s business steadily prospered with the help of benchmarking, keeping an eye on both the financial and technical performance of their undertakings with sheep, cattle and deer.

The next farm tour is at Arbigland Farm, Carsethorn, near Dalbeattie, by kind permission of Brendan Muldowney. Farming Partners will showcase what their farmers have invested heavily in on their farms to allow them to run a grass-based method efficiently.
The group of Scottish and Irish farmers have united together across a number of dairy farms. Calving their cows in the spring and drying the cows off before Christmas – the group’s partnership-based approach helps to anchor the passion to ensure their farms are well farmed.
Spending 12 years in banking before moving to full time dairy farming in 2009, Brendan helps the farm partners by provided various opportunities to invest in their skill sets and interests, helping to continually maintain high-quality work on the farms. Their determination and skill sets allow them to invest in their farming with tailored opportunities and by utilising resources!

Post lunch, back in the comfort of the hotel, Young Farmers from across the country will be able to attend a variety of breakout sessions where conversations will be based around current topics from the sector. These breakout sessions are:

  • Rory Christie – Vice Chair of Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society Ltd [SAOS]
    “making farming practices smarter, more efficient and sustainable” and a discussion on SAOS research into the true figures around Scotland’s farmers’ role as guardians of the countryside🐄🐏
  • David Corrie – Head of Estate Agency at Galbraith
    “A constructive approach to the Valuation and Sale of Farms and Land” 🚜🌾
  • Lydia Divett – Royal Bank of Scotland
    “Support scaling your business and finances. Empowering Scotland’s Young Farmer entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to the next level”📈🌿
  • Guests from SAC Consulting
    “How best to promote the industry as an attractive job prospect, & how SAC are developing courses to keep up with a rapidly changing industry”📱🧑‍🌾

Taking to the hot seats for discussion is Sarah Millar of Quality Meat Scotland who’ll address the whole group as guest speaker, bringing to the fore we’re sure, a string of questions from an intrigued group of young farmers.

After Scotland V. Argentina’s Rugby coverage from Murrayfield and dinner, Finlay Carson MSP (Scottish Conservative Party) will chat to the delegates as guest speaker! Being in politics, in the area, since 2012 – Carson was re-elected as MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries in 2021. Finlay wholeheartedly supports his position of challenging the Scottish Government on issues relating to “investment in the south-west and particularly in the west of the region in Stranraer.

Finishing the conference, is a farm tour of the Rome’s farm at Irongray, Ingliston Farm. With the conference set to inspire innovation, there’s no better family to be visiting as they recently took all intuition being based near the busy Dumfries Hospital, in setting up Kilnford Farm Shop & Tearom selling boxes of home-reared Galloway Beef and Blackface Lamb amongst various veg hampers, etc.