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Young farmer focus: Beth Alexander - 'Perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel'

Beth Alexander, 23, is from Blairgowrie, Scotland and farms 800 suckler cows and 1800 ewes across three upland units. She also works in the industry development team at Quality Meat Scotland as a cattle and sheep specialist.

2020

 

The arrival of Covid-19 in March halted the hospitality industry overnight.

 

A colleague recently described 2020’s economic turbulence to me as ‘a year on steroids’ with unforeseen market disruption.

 

Perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel now a vaccine is being rolled out. However, while the risk to public health may lessen, some learnings will last a lifetime.

 

Local

 

One lesson I hope lasts is supporting local, particularly when it comes to the food on our plates.

 

The turn of the New Year saw us enter into another ‘Veganuary’.

 

But this year the new slogan ‘Regenuary’ seems to be more popular, with a shift in focus to buying locally sourced goods produced to a high standard, Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb are two I am advocates of.


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Sheep

 

Among a year of challenges, there has been great confidence within the sheep sector.

 

Record breeding sale prices carried through to store sales and now fat lamb prices are averaging some 230p/kg at the first sale of the New Year through the local live ring.


We have left the European Union with a trade deal, which has been a relief to the Scottish sheep sector, although I say this with caution, as I believe we are yet to see the operational challenges which will unfold in the months to come.

 

Career

 

I have never been one who enjoys sitting at a desk all day, so agriculture was the obvious choice for a career.

 

In normal times, my work with Quality Meat Scotland would see me delivering meat to market workshops in abattoirs over the country, meeting farmers and learning about different systems and ideas.

 

All great discussion points when we are making our own decisions with the farm at home. I have sorely missed this networking.

 

One element Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs this year has taught me not to take for granted is the travel and networking opportunities available.

 

I have been an active member of my local Young Farmers Club, Bankfoot JAC, for more than nine years and I am confident to say the benefits will continue many years down the line.

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