Lawrence Martin: A different track
Despite not coming from a farming background, Lawrence Martin always dreamed of working in agriculture.
He studied for an HNC in Agriculture at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) before going on to do a Modern Apprenticeship with Carbeth Home Farm in Balfron.
Three years on, he is a finalist in this year’s Lantra Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (ALBAS), which recognise and celebrate the achievements of trainees within Scotland’s rural sector.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Tillicoultry, said: “I feel so honoured and proud to be nominated. I am super excited to be going to the awards to meet the other finalists and think it’s an amazing thing for people who are really trying to excel and for the industry to be recognised.
“I really didn’t see myself in the same league as those who have been nominated in the past, so I’m very humbled by how far I’ve got.”
He attributes his success to the HNC course, which gave him the fundamentals to work on a farm, and the MA, which allowed him to put what he was learning into practice and gain first-hand experience, while also earning money.
He also says that being the only person in his class who wasn’t from a farming background, made him extra keen to keep up and excel from his position on the back foot.
His best memory of his time at SRUC is being selected to show an Angus cow at AgriScot 2017. While working as a Modern Apprentice at Carbeth Home Farm, he also visited France on an Erasmus exchange to learn about farming the French way.
He was nominated for the award by his mentor and employer Daye Tucker.
“She has been amazingly generous and patient and has really made me feel part of the farm,” he said. “I have experimented with a number of entrepreneurial ventures and have taken on more responsibility and management of the farm.
“Being able to give back and make life easier for her, showing her the result of her investment in my success, has motivated me more than anything.”
Apart from being nominated for the award, his biggest achievement to date is training own sheep dog Tilly from a puppy.
While he is still gaining experience in everything from moving sheep, drenching and tractor work, to the maintenance of equipment, accountancy and managing the farm’s online recording hub, his long-term ambition is to have his own farm and stock.