Business Skills Award


A one-thousand-pound cash prize, plus a sponsored trip to the Nuffield Farming Conference has been awarded to the winner of this year’s AgriScot Business Skills competition.

The winner of the Business Skills competition, which this year welcomed a new sponsor, Dairymaster UK Ltd, and supported by SAYFC and SRUC, was announced at AgriScot.

The 2018 accolade went to Craig Stout, a 3rd year Agriculture student at SRUC Edinburgh, whose business management skills and knowledge of agri-business issues impressed the judges on the day to take home the coveted title and cash prize.

For this year, to coincide with the Nuffield Farming Conference taking place in Glasgow on the day after AgriScot, the event directors also agreed to add a special prize, giving Craig the opportunity to attend the prestigious conference.

The final saw the four competitors judged on the task of assessing the value and relevance of an innovative product or service showcased at AgriScot. This year, it was the automated mobility scoring system CowAlert from IceRobotics.


The other three finalists for the 2018 competition were:

  • Hollie Cruikshank, from Grantown-on-Spey, a 4th year Agriculture student at SRUC Aberdeen
  • Ian Buchanan, Kinross, a 4th year Agriculture student at SRUC Aberdeen
  • Alasdair Allan, Linlithgow, a 3rd year Agriculture student at SRUC Edinburgh


Craig Stout had the following to say about his success:

“Winning the Business Skills Award was a big shock, but I was really happy to hear my name called! It’s been a very worthwhile experience and a great opportunity- I’d advise anyone thinking about going for it next year to take the chance.”

He continued: “I learnt a lot during the process, and it was great having to work under pressure- something which I’m not used to, but I think will be relevant in the future!”


Chris Howarth of sponsors, Dairymaster UK Ltd concluded:

“One of our initiatives is to encourage youth and the future generation within the agricultural industry, so sponsoring the Business Skills Award seemed like a perfect fit. Supporting the industry and seeing young people like Craig grow and succeed within farming is essential to the future of agriculture.”

Young Business Skills Winner & Finalists 2017

The competition, which aims to assess business skills and awareness of topical agricultural issues, was open to anyone aged 18-25. 

The 2017 award was won by Andrew McGregor from Carluke.


The AgriScot Business Skills Competition is sponsored by Dairymaster UK Ltd, organised by SRUC and supported by SAYFC.


Having impressed the judges with his business management skills and knowledge of agri-business issu es, Mr MacGregor, a dairy farmer from Carluke, took home the coveted title and a prize of £1000. An agriculture graduate from SRUC Edinburgh, Andrew subsequently worked on farms in New Zealand before returning home to the family farm, during which time he has participated in the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation. He is very active within the SAYFC and is the current holder of their “Member of the Year” award.

Having reached the last stage at this week’s AgriScot event, the competition’s finalists faced a tiebreaker that involved them evaluating NEOLAC, a rumen protected meal launched earlier that morning by Norvite. Each finalist then gave a presentation on their assessment to a judging panel who also asked a range of questions on business skills, topical agricultural issues and how they are developing their CV. The judging panel was chaired by James Buchanan of SAC Consulting, who was joined by Ian Hope of Galbraith, and John Kinnaird of AgriScot.

The other three finalists in the competition, which was sponsored by Biocell Agri and supported by SAYFC and SRUC, were:

* Lyndsey Allen – from a family farm in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, Lyndsey is currently in her final year of the BSc Agriculture course at SRUC Ayr and her goal on graduating is to become a ruminant nutritionist.

* Kerry Cartwright – an agricultural student from Invergordon. Kerry is in her third year of the BSc Agriculture course at SRUC Aberdeen and combines this with duties as the Campus Officer for the Student Association.

* Sarah Mowat – a farm administrator for John Scott, Fearn Farm, Ross-shire. Sarah, originally from Orkney, is an Honours graduate from the Rural Business Management course at SRUC Aberdeen. Sarah is very active for the SAYFC, currently holding both secretary and treasurer positions within the organisation.

Mr McGregor commented on his success: “It feels great to have won the award. The Business Skills competition is great, it really gives you a chance to grow your knowledge and skills whilst being practically challenging.”

Judge Mr Buchanan, said: “It was refreshing to see the industry in good health with four such strong finalists. The winner, Andrew McGregor, demonstrated a good all round understanding of business skills and his presentation on the new product evaluation set him apart from the other finalists.”

Scotland agent for Biocell Agri, Alec Ross, who presented Andrew with his award, added: “We started sponsoring the Business Skills Award eight years ago and the quality of the contestants goes up year on year. It’s a privilege to be involved in sharing good news within the industry, and it’s good to know that the future is in good hands!”

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