Farmers Weekly Awards Winner: Young Farmer of the Year

Adrian Ivory may believe in keeping things simple – but what he does, he does brilliantly.

His beef enterprise outperforms the top-third of businesses appearing in QMS and EBLEX data, more than 70% of his cattle kill out at grade U or better and his cereals average 3t/acre.

Such high standards, applied across the business, mean the 34-year-old achieved a 40% return on sales of £870,000 in 2007.

His aim, he says, is uncomplicated but ambitious: To achieve a 3% and 15% return on the value of land and operating assets, respectively.

His two guiding principles since he took over at the helm of his family’s farm near Meigle in Perthshire have been to scale up, but simplify.

Having returned to 240ha (600 acres), 80 commercial and 30 pedigree cows, he’s expanded it to about 1000ha (2500 acres) and 230 cows.

His commitment to the “KISS” (Keep it simple, stupid) has meant many enterprises have been dropped or streamlined.

The farm is well known for its pedigree Simmentals and Charolais. He treats pedigree showing as his “shop window” and has notched up many successes over the years.

He has a huge array of figures at his fingertips, all compiled in a dossier which he refers to as the “Strathisla Bible”. “The trick is to monitor what you’re doing and keep believing in what you’re doing.”

As well as being hands-on at the farm, Adrian is also proactive at forging links industry-wide.

He’s developed relationships with a plethora of bodies in a bid to better understand and influence the supply chain – just two examples are being involved with Sainsbury’s steering committee and acting as McDonalds’s “Scout with a Clout” visiting the food giant’s production facilities.

He regularly holds open days for groups such as breed societies, Young Farmers and students and, as well as providing an environment that allows wildlife to flourish, he’s aiming for a carbon neutral farm.

He is, in short, an ambassador for farming – setting the highest standards on his own farm and representing the interests of farmers in a multitude of ways.

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