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SRUC Produces 2 Finalist in the British Farming Awards 2017


Each year, the prestigious British Farming Awards holds a category for Agricultural Student of the Year. The award recognises, and aims to showcase the achievements of next generation farmers and rising stars within the UK agricultural industry.


Included in the 5 finalists of this year’s Agricultural Student of the Year were 2 SRUC students – both of whom have already received recognition for their achievements to date.


Robbie Stevenson, BSc Agriculture, Aberdeen Campus


The first student was Robbie Stevenson, a student at the Aberdeen campus – who was also shortlisted for the Farmers Weekly Student of the Year Award 2017. Earlier this year Robbie also won Bronze at the Farmers Club Pinnacle Awards for Excellence in Business Management.

Robbie, who recently completed his third year of a degree in Agriculture, has been combining his studies in Aberdeen with running the family farm at Holm on the Orkney mainland.

He makes regular trips home during busy periods, but also keeps an eye on his livestock by use of an app which links his smart phone to a camera in the shed, allowing him to zoom in on the animals.

Talking to Robbie makes it abundantly clear that he spends a lot of time thinking about how to develop and expand his own business – which he’s hoping to do in the future by taking advantage of the Young Farmer and New Entrant schemes currently available.

To add to this Robbie was recently appointed a Feed Advisor for Norvite to strengthen their team on the Orkney Isles.


Claire Simonetta, BSc Agriculture, Ayr Campus



The second of SRUC’s 2 finalists was Swiss-born Claire Simonetta, who lives on Mull, and has recently graduated from her BSc degree in Agriculture at SRUC’s Ayr camps.

Claire – who combined her studies with helping run a beef and sheep hill farm on Mull with her partner – earlier this year became regional winner for Scotland at the British Education Awards.

That title came just a few months after high-flying student Claire lifted the Agricultural Student of the Year title at the Farmers Weekly Awards last October – the award Robbie was shortlisted for this year.

Claire’s journey into farming is somewhat unusual. Five years ago she was working as a paralegal while saving up to embark on a degree in astrophysics.

The dramatic change in Claire’s studying direction followed her mother taking on a role as the secretary for the Swiss Highland Cattle Society. Claire tagged along on a visit to Scotland and was instantly hooked on the Scottish landscape, people and culture.

She left her job in Zurich and moved to Scotland, working on a series of placements on farms. It was during that voyage of discovery that she decided to apply to study agriculture at SRUC – which was how she met her partner, a tenant hill farmer on Mull.






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