Young Farmer of the Year- David Smith

Young Farmer of the Year- David Smith

“David Smith, Young Farmer of the Year 2023!”

The Final of SAYFC’s Young Farmer of the Year competition was held on Saturday 11th December at SRUC’s Oatridge Campus and Farm. The 6 Finalists on the day were Alistair Brunton (East Fife Jac), Andrew Frank (Udny YFC), Ewan Lambie (Strathearn JAC), Scott Limond (Ayr YFC), Ryan Luckhurst (Inver Ross YFC) and David Smith (Crossroads YFC).

Throughout the morning’s competition, the finalists were evaluated on their abilities, ingenuity, and field expertise through a series of tests and challenges. These tasks change each year, so the contestants don’t know what to prepare for. This year the tasks included:

Quad Bike Driving (overseen by ATV Services), Tractor Driving, Plough maintenance, Sheep condition and selection, breed identification, rewiring and tool identification and repair.

Alongside these tasks, the contestants took it in turn to deliver their business plans which they have been working on for over a month. These were presented to a panel of judges made up of experts from Galbraith and Royal Bank of Scotland as well as John Thomson – owner of Hilton of Beath, the farm that the plans and situation were based on. This business plan accounts for 50% of each contestant’s final score and this year the judges were very impressed with their hard work and imaginative and well thought out solutions.

After all of this was completed, the final scores were totalled from the business plans and the practical section, and the contestants were left to wonder until the winner was announced at the climax of the SAYFC Five-Star Awards that evening.

And the winner of the Sir John Campbell [Glenrath Farms] Trophy and the Young Farmer of the Year 2023 is:

David Smith of Crossroads YFC!

David impressed throughout the competition, with his excellent work ethic, admirable all round knowledge and his eye for detail.

He had this to say of his win:

“Winning Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday is a main highlight in my time in Young Farmers, and an experience and feeling I’ll never forget!  It’s one of the few competitions I’ve done that requires so much time, thought and commitment. To complete 3 years of accounts and a supporting business plan, all before the practical challenges and interview on the day.  It really challenges the way you think about a farming business, however through support from Galbraith’s and RBS’s mentors it was all made possible.

Overall, it was a worthwhile learning experience and I look forward to my quad bike from ATV services arriving!”

Our runners up on the day were Ewan Lambie of Strathearn JAC in second and Andrew Frank of Udny JAC in third. A huge congratulations to this top three and to all 6 finalists for making it to this last stage of competition. As David says the competition is a learning experience and it is SAYFC’s hope that all the competitors will take away knowledge and expertise that will greatly aid them in their own farming journeys.

For our winner he will gain not only knowledge and the title of Young Farmer of the Year but this year’s winning prize:

£1000 (provided by Royal Bank of Scotland),

A trip to the Oxford Farming Conference (provided by RHASS),

And the grand prize, a BRAND NEW, Can-Am MY23 OUTLANDER 450 T (provided by ATV services)!!

ATV Services Scotland Ltd’s Director John Yuille had this to say about the competition:

” ATV Services Scotland Ltd proudly supports the Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYFC) and their Young Farmer of the Year Competition. As the one of the UK’s largest retailers of off-road vehicles and part of the rural community, we recognise the crucial role young farmers play in shaping agriculture’s future. Our donation of an ATV to the winner is a testament to our commitment to celebrating and empowering the dedication and innovation of these aspiring individuals. Congratulations to all the competitors not only in the final but at the group stages, and of course to our ultimate winner David.

Here’s to driving success with SAYFC and cultivating a resilient future in agriculture. “

SAYFC would like to thank, ATV Services, Galbraith, Royal Bank of Scotland, and all those that have helped in the running of this competition for their continued support and collaboration.