BEING named UK arable farmer of the year, Colin McGregor of Coldstream has proved to all that he is outstanding in his field!
Good farming practices helped Colin to the title but it’s his blending of successful business and community involvement that ensured he took the number one spot when he went head to head with the other finalists in the Farmers Weekly annual competition at their award ceremony in London.
Since taking over the family’s 300 hectare farm at the age of 21, Colin has steadily built up the business and now the McGregors and their team of seven staff crop 2,830 ha (nearly 7,000 acres) over eight farms growing wheat, oilseed rape, spring beans, vining peas, barley and potatoes. And they put their success down to their three ‘Ps’(people, precision and plant) - employing skilled and motivated people, being the biggest single user of precision farming techniques in Scotland, and investing in the best plant and machinery.
The company hosts school and business visits and works in the community, helping with grass cutting, groundworks, and a whole host of other jobs that get done within the community, often unnoticed.
Coldstream and District Community Council chairman, Martin Brims, paid tribute to Mr McGregor and said: “Colin’s commitment to the community in which he and his team work cannot be underestimated. He is always willing to help out where and when he can.
“In times of need he has always been on hand, whether that is helping rescue stranded campers from a flooded Tweed Green in 2008, or helping clear snow in times when roads have been blocked.
“Colin has also provided assistance with the project to establish the garden at the Community Centre. I suspect that much of Colin’s contribution goes unnoticed, and it is fantastic to see him get the recognition he deserves. It is no exaggeration to suggest that it is because of Colin’s community focus, that he is the “go to” man if you need assistance.”
Speaking after being presented with his award Mr McGregor said: “I am delighted that our excellent team has won this award.
“I have always said that attention to detail is what is key in our business and the philosophy has paid off. We farm every acre of ground with the utmost of care and treat it as if it were our own. More than that, we treat it with the respect that it deserves from an environmental perspective because at the end of the day every generation is just passing through and our farmland and countryside will be here long after we have gone.
“I think our win also demonstrates not only the importance of good farming practices but also the fact that farms are part of a bigger community and one which is relevant to us all. Every farm should forge links with schools and local communities in order to ensure that our connection back to the land and food production is never forgotten.”
Competition judges liked the McGregor’s ‘high standards and consistency’, attention to detail and use of farming techniques.