Young farmers group report on the past year

Machars Young Farmers enjoying the annual Dumfries and Galloway Rally, which was hosted by Stranraer and Rhins Young Farmers
Machars Young Farmers enjoying the annual Dumfries and Galloway Rally, which was hosted by Stranraer and Rhins Young Farmers

On the 8th April 2016, Machars young farmers kicked off the year with our New Members Night held in Kirkinnner Hall with 32 new members attending.

Throughout the summer months we held various sports nights at Bladnoch Park and St Medan beach and netball trainings at Port William MUGA.

On the 9th April, a team consisting of Holly Sproat, Kathleen Ketchion, Holly & Rebecca Blakeman, Anna & Rachel Ramsay, Kerry Roddie and Mhairi Fisher went through to Ayr for a Netball Competition; Despite their great efforts they came away unplaced.

On the 24th of April, a Machars team consisting of Russel & Fraser Morton, Craig Johnstone, Kit Wright, Alan Ferrie, Mark, Robbie and William McCornick took part in D&G Young Farmers Rugby 7s Tournament, coming away as victors against the other five teams!

Also, on this day, our brilliant duo, Fyfe Paterson and Aileen McColm, took part in D&G Young Farmers Country Cooks competition, where they were placed first for their excellent dishes. They then went on to perform on stage at Ayr show where they triumphed again and qualified to compete at the national final at The Royal Highland Show!

Machars YFC had two teams representing the club at Ayr Show on the 14th of May in the Stock Judging Competition. Teams consisted of, Juniors: David Adams, Ross Campbell and Frank Gwynne; Seniors: Bobby Landers, Andrew Hunter-Blair and Robert Templeton, with all participants coming away with great scores! A Handicrafts team was also entered consisting of Robyn Wallace, Aileen McColm, Morven Old, Fay Wallace and Emily Nash.

On the 6th of May, the club was represented by several members competing in Annandale YFC Annual Sports Event. The boys football team, (John Cousar, William McMillan, David Adams, Connor McCaig, Mark Craig, Sam Mactier and Stuart Mactier) played fantastically and made it through to the final where they narrowly missed out on the top spot to Thornhill YFC. According to the girls hockey team, they would have won had the sports convenor not have forgotten the hockey sticks!

On the 12th May, the Club’s Chairperson, Sarah Ferguson, set off on her journey to Canada to participate in a three month SAYFC Exchange Programme. Sarah thoroughly enjoyed her time exploring southern Ontario and since her return can highly recommended this amazing opportunity, and other similar travel programmes, ogranised through SAYFC. Another Machars member, Colin Ferguson, also grasped the opportunity to travel New Zealand for 2 weeks in December on an Agri Affairs Farm tour, again organised through SAYFC.

Regular practices were held at Bladnoch Park in the run up to the Annual D&G Young Farmers Rally on the 28th May, kindly hosted by Stranraer and Rhins YFC. Machars performed tremendously and placed 2nd overall to the home team! Also on this day, a member of the club, Jim White, competed in The Sheep Shearing competition at Lesmahagow Agricultural Show where he was placed first overall in the young farmer section, securing his qualifying ticket to compete at The Royal Highland Show!

The Royal Highland show 2016 saw a successful year for the club. Eilidh Parker and Aileen McColm performed brilliantly in the National Final of the Country Cooks Competition where they narrowly lost out in the last round. Robert Templeton and William McMillan also powered through the rain on the Sunday morning to partake in the Prime Lamb Dressing Competition. Carrying on from his previous success, Jim White did the club proud achieving a credible third place in the Young Farmers Sheep Shearing Final. The Landers duo, Bobby and Katie, took part in the Senior Stockmanship Event where they narrowly missed a placing. Moreover, Machars members, Ross Campbell and David Adams, along with Stranraer and Rhins member, Robbie Brooke, performed fantastically being placed second overall in the Juniors Stockmanship Competition!

The club hosted an International exchange Student from New Zealand for a few days following The Royal Highland Show. Olivia, thoroughly enjoyed her time exploring D&G, and a huge thank you must go to her hosts for accommodating her during her stay.

On the 14th of June, Alan Oxley, Claire & Alistair Cannon, David Adams and Simon McCornick undertook a partly funded SAYFC Sheep Shearing training course, all earning their Blue Seal Qualification.

On the 2nd of July, Machars YFC held a Coffee Afternoon in Wigtown Bowling Club on the day of The Wigtown Ride of the Marches. The event was a huge success, raising £462 for The Wigtown Community Festival and club funds!

On the 3rd of July, a netball team consisting of Jennifer Craig, Rachel Ramsay, Heather Cousar, Kezia Dale, Katie Landers, Sarah Martin and Lois Campion travelled to East Kilbride to play in the West Area Young Farmers Netball Competition where they placed fourth overall!

On the 10th of July, the club held a stand at Wigtown Agricultural Show Society’s Social Sunday event, raising money for the Show from various competitions.

On the 16th of July, the club held a Charity Sheep Racing Evening at Craig Wilson Ltd Livestock Market, Newton Stewart, followed by a dance at The Crown Hotel. The attendance and support at this event was incredible, resulting in £1527.86 raised! The funds were donated equally to Bloodwise and McMillian Cancer Care in memory of the club’s late Honorary President, Michael Dunlop.

The 19th of July saw our Annual Sheep Stock judging, held at Carswalloch Farm, Creetown, by kind permission of the Campbell family. A great night was had by all with 114 competitors taking part! Prizes were awarded to Marianne Adams (first overall), Jan McCaig (2nd overall), Robbie McCornick (3rd overall and 1st Young Farmer) and Ruari Donald (First Junior).

At Stranraer Agricultural Show the Machars creativity and craftsmanship shone through with the club’s three ladies Handicrafts teams receiving 1st equal, 2nd equal and 3rd place, whilst the club’s two men’s teams took 1st place and 3rd equal!

The 3rd of August marked the community’s annual highlight, Wigtown Agricultural Show! Although the weather was poor the attendance most definitely wasn’t! Our annual Tug O’ war competition run by Tom Bell was a huge success with five teams taking part (would have been six had Stranraer & Rhins YFC not been scared away!). A tough final was had between RG contracting and Newton Stewart RFC, however Russell’s team prevailed and were crowned winners for the third consecutive year! The club’s tent was located in a new spot near the Livestock area which proved popular. Furthermore, the Annual Show Dance, hosted by Machars YFC, was as successful as ever with around 450 people attending!

On the 20th August, Machars held their Annual Dairy Stock Judging Event at East Mains Farm, Kirkinner, by kind permission of the Robinson family. The evening was very successful with 141 people taking part. Prizes were awarded to Jill Sloan (1st overall), Jock Cowan (2nd overall), Drew Sloan (3rd overall),Rose Nash (1st Young Farmer) and Heather Cousar (1st Junior)

NMR held an open day at Baltier farm, Whithorn, by kind permission of the Forsyth family on the 27th August. Machars held a small stock judging competition at this event, which many of the Irish visitors took part in.

The 2nd of September saw our Annual Beef Stock Judging Event held at Palmallet Farm, Whithorn, by kind permission of the McKinnel family. The evening kept up with the success of the club’s previous stock judging events, with around 145 people taking part! A grand night was had by all with prizes awarded to Sarah Lawson (1st overall, 1st Junior & 1st Young Farmer), David Templeton (2nd overall), Fiona Roddie (3rd overall) and Jane Campbell (1st lady).

On the 10th September a bus of Machars and Stranraer & Rhins members travelled to Beith for the West Area Young Farmers’s “Big Night Out”.

On the 1st of October, a team consisting of Robert Templeton, James Vance, John Howatson, Garry McKnight, William McMillan and Katie Landers highlighted their artistic talent in creating a fantastic bale sculpture for the SAYFC Bale Sculpture Competition! That evening, the club’s secretary, Katie Landers, swapped her paint brush for a microphone to compete in the D&G Mr & Miss Young Farmer Competition, narrowly missing out on placing!

The 15th of October saw the club’s Annual Root Show, held in the Wigtown County Buildings. The event built on its success from the previous year with over 350 entries from 66 entrants!

On the 6th of November, a team consisting of John Walker, Donald Robinson and Adam Moffat took part in the D&G Juniors Speechmaking Competition, they came a credible 3rd with John receiving a certificate for best vote of thanks out with the winning team! On the 20th November, the team travelled to Bigger to participate in the West Area Speechmaking Competition where they came a respectable 5th.

Twelve members of the club enjoyed a day clay pigeon shooting at Glenluce on the 13th of November.

The 26th of November marked the Annual D&G Young Farmers Ceilidh held in the MacMillan hall in Newton Stewart, with 32 Machars members attending.

The club held a taster curling evening in conjunction with Stranraer & Rhins YFC on the 12th December with many members attending the event.

On the 16th December, Machars YFC held their Annual Christmas Night Out in the Bruce Hotel, Newton Stewart, where a fantastic festive evening was had by all!

On the 19th December, D&G Young Farmers organised an international panel night in Gatehouse of Fleet, where the club’s chairperson, Sarah Ferguson, presented a speech to promote International Exchange Programmes organised by SAYFC.

On the 24th December, Whauphill Community hosted our Annual Christmas Eve Quiz in their Village hall. It was well supported by past and present members with everyone getting into the festive spirit!

The 28th of December marked the club’s Annual Winter Dance held again at the Monreith Arms, Port William. It was a great enjoyable evening with a turnout of over 200 people!

On the 16th of January, the Machars team of John Howatson, Sarah Ferguson, Bobby Landers and Garry McKnight achieved first prize at the D&G Young Farmers Seniors Speechmaking Competition, qualifying for the next round!

On the 20th of January, a few car loads of Machars members travelled to Ayr for dinner and an evening of 10 pin bowling.

On Friday 10th March, we held our Annual Dinner Dance in the Wigtown County Buildings to round off the end of a fantastic year! A huge thanks must go to last year’s committee and members for making 2016-2017 such a busy and successful year!

On Sunday 12th March we held our AGM, where the following were elected onto 2017-2018’s committee:

Chairman: Andrew-Hunter Blair

Vice Chairman: James Vance

Secretaries: William Mcmillan and Sarah Walker

Assistant Secretary & Root Show Secretary: Holly Sproat

Assistant Root Show Secretary: Rose Nash

Treasurer: Kerrin Forsyth

Assistant Treasurer: Jim White

Sports Convenor: Garry McKnight

Handicrafts: Emily Nash

Club Leader: Sarah Ferguson & Katie Landers

School Reps: Heather Cousar and Katie Scott

Committee: Robert Templeton

John Cousar

David Adams

Alan Oxley

Fay Wallace

Our first event of the year will be a New Members and Social Evening on Friday 31st March in Kirkinner Hall commencing at 7.30pm. Anyone aged 14 to 30 (farmer or non-farmer) are welcome to come along and participate in a fun filled evening of games and activities and find out more about the club and our events for the upcoming year.