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DG businesses make rural awards final

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By Fiona Reid
Farming

THREE Dumfries and Galloway businesses have been named finalists in the national Helping It Happen Awards 2021.

The awards recognise the role of estates, businesses and community groups who are helping rural Scotland thrive.

Carsluith based Ferry Fish has been shortlisted in the Business Resilience Award category.

Before Covid, Ferry Fish sold fresh, locally sourced fish, game and other meat products from their four vans and at a weekly stand at Castle Douglas, but these services had to change in order to still operate safely during a global pandemic and safeguard jobs. They instead offered a doorstep delivery service and developed a new website and app which now operates a complete contact-free, free home delivery service which has gone from strength to strength to service towns and rural villages across Dumfries and Galloway and also South Ayrshire.

Finlay’s Cream of Galloway Farm/The Ethical Dairy, at Rainton Farm, Castle Douglas is in the Innovation in Farming Award category.

It produces traditional cheeses and luxury ice-cream using organic milk from their herd. This milk is produced using the cow and calf method which involves keeping calves with their mothers to suckle. As the first commercial dairy farm in the UK to adopt this model a balance has been struck between ethical considerations and the operation of a financially viable farm. The approach has seen a marked improvement in the cows’ health and contentment, whilst also promoting a more sustainable grass-based farming system.

Lastly, Jas P Wilson at Dalbeattie, is a finalist in the Rural Business Award category.

The national supplier of forestry equipment and machinery employs 85 staff and provides apprenticeship opportunities in engineering and administration for young people. Their team of skilled designers, engineers, service and sales staff operate from an ever-expanding 20,000 square metre base, home to workshops, design studios, offices and dedicated training centre. Working with Scottish Enterprise, they broke new ground in exports including in Scandinavian markets. They also streamlined their processes and thought more innovatively about business.

Commenting, Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive of organisers Scottish Land & Estates, said: “With three Dumfries and Galloway entries named as finalists, it’s clear that the region is home to people and organisations which benefit those in the area and across Scotland by providing employment, helping their local communities and helping Scotland meet its environmental goals.”

The winners will be announced in a live virtual ceremony on October 27, which anyone is welcome to tune in to via the Scottish Land & Estates website.

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