The Royal Highland Show has long been filled with happy childhood memories for Laura Green, Morayshire, but this year will be even more special, when she takes the spotlight to judge the beef young handler competition. Hannah Noble reports.
This year will be 21-year-old Laura Green’s first time judging, making her the youngest of 108 livestock judges at the show.
She says: “It is a tremendous honour and privilege to have been asked to judge at the Royal Highland Show and something I would only dream of getting asked to do, it is such an amazing opportunity.”
Laura graduated last year from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in rural business management and has gone on to make use of her qualifications by heading back home to the multi-enterprise family farm, working alongside her grandparents, Jimmy and Nan, and father Iain.
As well as the 190-strong Corskie Simmental herd, the Green family also runs 380 commercial Simmental cross cattle, 600 Mule and Mule cross Texel sheep, 400 indoor sows and 1,522 hectares (3,762 acres) of arable cropping as well as a haulage business.
Well qualified to take on the role of judge, Laura’s achievements are impressive, with several years competing at the Highland as well as a number of other local shows under her belt, she also has been involved in the Simmental and Aberdeen-Angus Youth Development Programmes.
Achieving joint second place in the intermediate section, a skilful combination of stockmanship, stock-judging and cattle preparation.
David Jackson, Royal Highland Show manager, says: "She is a great example of the immense talent and enthusiasm of the next generation of farmers and I am thrilled she has agreed to be one of the show’s judges."
The young handler competition is open to 12 to 16-year-olds, judged on the handler’s ability and the presentation of the animal.
Laura says: "Every section at the show has an exceptional standard and the young handlers class is no different. Having done young handlers myself for a number of years I know exactly what I will be looking for.
“The winner of the class will be a conscientious handler who is fully aware of the judge and what their animal is doing, even when the judge is not looking. They and their animal must also be well turned out and smart.”
Laura is keen to promote the benefits of taking part in young handler competitions.
She says: “It helps build your confidence and you meet loads of like-minded people who end up being friends for life. Even if you do not get placed high up in the ribbons, there is always a tip you can take away to make sure you are better next time, it is vital for the future of our industry.”
As well as competing with cattle, Laura is heavily involved in her local Young Farmers Club, Lower Speyside, and has held the role of joint treasurer for the last three years.
She takes stockjudging very seriously and often helps with coaching other club members on reason-giving.
Laura has also recently taken on a new project, starting to develop a pedigree Beef Shorthorn herd under the Corskie prefix.
All this, combined with planning her wedding to fiancee, Robert Beattie, next year means she has very little spare time.