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Young Farmer Focus: Gemma Duguid: 'Lockdown is an opportunity to educate the public about where their food comes from'

Gemma Duguid, 27, from Caithness, is an office supervisor with Aberdeen and Northern Marts and enjoys helping out on the family farm when possible.

After spending the weekend back home in Aberdeenshire helping out on the family farm at lambing and calving time, there is nothing more satisfying seeing new life being born, thrive and move on to pastures new.

 

Marts

 

We spent most of the day picking out 60 store cattle for sale at Aberdeen and Northern Marts at Thainstone and tagging calves which have been born.

 

My role with Aberdeen and Northern Marts is very varied, which I love and embrace.

 

We had our second cattle sale at the end of April, which proved to be a busy week. We spoke to farmers regarding the sale and explained the new protocols that are in place. We finished off this week at Thainstone, helping out in the office for the Store Cattle sale.

 

Weather

 

The weather has very much been in our favour this spring, with most farmers catching up with ground work and hill farmers having a grand spell for outdoor lambing because in February/March we thought it would never dry up and, dare I say it, some rain would be very much appreciated now - I just hope it remembers to stop.

 

Although it has been dry it has been cold, and this has resulted in a slow start to the grass season but it is coming.

 

Although the country is in full lockdown and almost everything is it at a standstill, it does not stop the farmers across the country, who are at their busiest with new life being born, sowing and planting crops. This stops for no one to keep the nation fed and watered.


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Buy local

 

Supporting Scottish farmers and buying local is even more crucial now than it was and hopefully after this coronavirus pandemic is over the farmers will be thanked by the general public, who will continue to support farmers and buy local produce.

 

Educating

 

And with schools closed and many parents furloughed, this should now also be our chance to promote our industry, educating the public about agriculture and where their food comes from.

 

It scares me to think about how many people believe everything comes from a supermarket.

 

We should be integrating lessons around the growth of fruit and vegetables into mainstream curriculum, in mathematics and science lessons for example.

 

Emissions

 

Farmers were always blamed for producing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but, as there has been a decrease in the number of vehicles on the road and planes flying, emissions have fallen significantly - yet our industry has not stopped.

 

YFC

 

Young Farmers means the world to me and joining Bower Young Farmers Club (YFC) allowed me to get to know likeminded people in the local area. Within 2 months of moving to the area, I had landed the position of district chairwoman and it has been the best thing I have done.

 

I got to know everyone in the area from farmers, judges, other organisations and gained more skills and knowledge about the area far quicker.

 

This has been hugely beneficial as I have been able to network with the people in the community quicker and forge relationships with many different people who I still keep in contact with on a regular basis.

 

YFC also offers numerous opportunities, from making friends for life, travelling the world through the International programme, Agri and Rural affairs Committee. And it helps to cultivate leaders, provides training courses and the life skills you gain from these opportunities is amazing.

 

As newly elected North Region chairwoman I am looking forward to the year ahead.

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