As part of their ongoing commitment to the continued progression of the beef sector, Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society has awarded dissertation sponsorship packages to two final year agricultural students.
The successful applicants, Vicki Elder and Megan Cameron from SRUC will receive financial support towards their final year research project, alongside one-to-one mentoring and help in accessing key industry contacts.
Emily Simpson, marketing officer at the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, says they were delighted to receive so many high calibre applications in the first year they have offered the sponsorship, and selecting the final recipients was a tough process.
“As a society, we’re passionate about supporting young people within agriculture and therefore wanted to offer students help with undertaking valuable research relevant to the beef sector.
“The two selected students are carrying out strong research projects that will provide valuable insights for our members and may help steer the development of sustainable and profitable beef production systems that are fit for the future,” she explains.
Vicki Elder has been awarded £1,000 towards completing her dissertation and will be looking into whether a high or low input beef production system is better suited to the future of sustainable farming in Scotland.
“With Scottish agriculture moving from the common agricultural policy to a new policy framework, there’s going to be significant change for farmers. It’s likely the new policy will be in-line with the Scottish government’s vision of being a global leader in sustainable and regenerative farming,” she explains.
“With this in mind, I’ve decided to base my dissertation on researching the most sustainable beef farming system based on this new policy. I’ll look at four case-studies and carry out farm audits on these herds, comparing intensive to extensive systems, focusing on the three pillars of sustainable beef production. This involves investigating and comparing economic and environmental performance as well as taking into account the social element of each system,” she says.
Miss Elder adds that she’s excited to work with the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society to carry out research on a topic that she’s passionate about, and that crucially, will also provide beneficial insight for the beef industry.
With another strong application, Megan Cameron has been awarded £500 to support research into the advantages that grazing cattle deliver to soil quality.
“The focus for my dissertation is comparing the micro-organisms in soil from land grazed by cattle with the soil micro-organisms of un-grazed land. To achieve this, soil samples will be taken from a selection of fields, to see which micro-organisms are present under the different treatments,” explains Miss Cameron.
“The vision is to understand the benefits cattle have on land and soil quality, as this may provide an opportunity to showcase another positive contribution that the beef industry has to offer.
“I’m excited to start working on this project alongside the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, as it will be great to have the support from those already in the industry,” she adds.
Miss Simpson says it is fantastic to have two enthusiastic young people so interested in the future of the beef industry. “We’re excited to see what the research shows and how this will inform the thinking of the sector going forward.”