RHASS Home / News / News Listing / Getting to know RHASS Directors: Bryce Sloan

Getting to know RHASS Directors: Bryce Sloan

As representatives of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, the RHASS directors see every high and low that the charity and its flagship event, the Royal Highland Show, experiences.


Giving up their precious free time to give back to the charity, the unpaid board of RHASS directors are committed to using their expertise and knowledge to help continually improve both the charity itself and the Highland Show.

Bryce Sloan had many years of experience with the Highland Show as a competitor and visitor before coming on board as a RHASS director six years ago. Using the expertise and knowledge built over a lifelong dedication to dairy farming, Bryce plays a vital role at the Show as Chief Steward of Dairy.


Tell us about yourself  

“The Sloan family have milked cows on our family farms for many generations over the last 100 years.

“I farm alongside my wife Anne, son Robert and his wife Emma, at Darnlaw Farm in Auchinleck, Ayrshire where we have 270 milking cows and 500 followers on 650 acres. We concentrate on maximising grass production and making the best use of home-grown forage. 

“Animal welfare is a priority for us, and a new state-of-the-art dairy complex was built in 2011 based around robotic milking systems and making use of modern technology.

“Pedigree Ayrshires were the chosen dairy breed in the 1970s, but since then a change to Holsteins was made, and recently a Jersey herd has also been established.”


What is your history with the Royal Highland Show?

“Over the years I have many great memories of the Highland Show as a visitor and as a competitor in the Young Farmers, showing cattle, leading cattle in the main ring Grand Parade, and meeting friends.

“The buzz and excitement of a day at the Highland Show is something which very few things in agriculture can compare to, and something which I hope we can maintain and improve for the future generations.”


What are some of the challenges of being a RHASS director?  

 “As a director you are the first one to hear the complaints and negativity, but on the flip side you do get to hear all the positive feedback first hand too.”


What is your role at the RHS? 

“When asked to be a RHASS director six years ago, I felt I should try and give something back to the sector and so I became a steward for the dairy section.

“To me the backbone of the Highland Show is the livestock, and as a dairy man, I think it is vital that the Show does what it can to encourage exhibitors and spectators to come along to see these incredible animals.

“To exhibit at the Show is hard work, and commitments at home and the lack of staff can make it challenging, but rewarding too. As Directors our aim is to maintain the fun, family-friendly, atmosphere at the Show and keep trying to make it an enjoyable experience for every visitor. It is seeing those visitors enjoy themselves that make it all worthwhile”


What decisions have you made recently on the RHASS board that will make the Show better? 

“Last year the ticketing system gained a lot of criticism, so there have been improvements made for this year. For 2023 we have changed ticketing providers and introduced a farming flexi ticket, giving those working in agriculture a bit more flexibility on which days they attend. For safety and security reasons, the Show will continue to use an electronic ticketing system so we can properly monitor the numbers of visitors each day.”

“Sometimes some of the decisions we make are not always obvious – for example we have made a huge investment in the drainage both in the site and the car parking. This was necessary as many will remember the torrential rain in 2012 that threatened the closure of the Show, but as with lots of things, we don’t notice things until they go wrong. But it was a necessary cost that ensures the viability of the Show as well as the many other events that take place at the Royal Highland Centre.”


If you could change one thing about the Show, what would it be?   

“For the Show to prosper it has to evolve and adapt, and the one thing I would like to see is everyone getting behind the Show to help make it something to be proud of and maintain its position as Scotland’s number one outdoor attraction!

“I would also like to see new directors coming forward as new blood brings fresh thinking and innovation. We are working hard to make sure we are a diverse board so we are representative of the food, farming and rural sector in which we operate.”


What are some of your best memories of the Show?

“Last year I was one of the judges on the Technical Innovation Awards and Pollock Farm Equipment received the Gold Award - to see the pride on the managing director’s face after receiving his award just made me realise how important and prestigious the Highland Show is.

“Hopefully my grandchildren Grace, Innes, Will and Maeve will have many happy memories of the Highland Show with their Nanne and Papa for many years to come.”


A letter from our CEO Royal Highland Show launches 2024 tickets as gates close on a world-class event

Why sign up for our Newsletter?

  • Important RHASS communications
  • Get all the latest news & upcoming events
  • Updates from our community
Newsletter Sign Up