A “LARGER-than-life” dairy expert is retiring after more than 40 years at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
Hugh McClymont, farms manager for the South and West Faculty, has won multiple awards and held several prestigious positions on industry committees, including hosting the popular Scotgrass events.
He started as a herdsman at the Acrehead Dairy Unit in 1979, before becoming farm foreman, and in 2002, the farms manager for the conjoined Acrehead and Crichton Royal Farm sites. In 2019, he took control of all SRUC dairies, including Barony.
The highlights of his career include winning the Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year award in 2013, pioneering OPEN Farm Sunday at Crichton Farm through Leaf Innovation, and travelling around Dumfries and Galloway with Daisy, the life size plastic cow, in 2012 to raise awareness of RHET.
In addition, he has encouraged numerous young people into the industry through school visits and placements and supported research students to achieve their goals.
Professor Wayne Powell, principal and chief executive of SRUC, who made a special presentation to Hugh at last week’s Royal Highland Show, above, said: “I’d like to acknowledge the long service of our much-respected colleague and friend.
“Throughout his 43-year career he remained committed to advocating for a high quality of care for animals and for the dairy industry’s position in the nutritious food industry.
“That really is an incredible achievement.”
George Baikie, farm partnership co-ordinator, added: “Hugh McClymont is a larger-than-life character with an infectious personality.
“During his time at SRUC, he was never one to turn down a challenge, which led to him taking control of all SRUC dairies.
“Running dairies, which also provide teaching and research, brings challenges that require the unique skillset of keen listening, careful consideration of all viewpoints, as well as the conviction to take decisive action in the best interests of all concerned. These skills take years to hone and can be found in abundance in Hugh.
“His experience, ability and enthusiasm for dairying was contagious, keeping us all steady through major disease outbreaks, droughts, floods and SRUC’s organisational changes, as we progressed from the three-college model, to the present SRUC.
“No matter the situation, Hugh made sure SRUC had cows on site and milking, it was always business as usual.”
As well as serving as director at the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for the next four years, Hugh is looking forward to spending more time with his family, caravanning and watching rugby at Murrayfield.