This year’s winner of the Fordyce Maxwell Award for Agricultural Communications has been presented to former SRUC student and RHASS (Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland) Competitions and Livestock Executive, Catriona Brown. 

The award was established by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) last year in memory of the late Scotsman journalist, whose son Tom is SRUC’s Chief Communications Officer.  

The award recognises those who actively spread the word about agriculture through written articles, social media content for a business, podcasts, Vblogs, public events, or any other form of communication.   Fordyce was a staple in the farming industry, with a 50-year career spent reporting on topical issues which affected the country, most notably his industry-leading reporting of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001.  

Passionate about bringing farming and the working countryside to life, 25-year-old Catriona from Bonnington Farm, Peebles, is actively involved in RHET (Scottish Borders), the Royal Highland Education Trust, of which their father is Chair.  RHET aims to provide the opportunity for every child in Scotland to learn about food, farming and the countryside and to create a wider understanding of the environmental, economic and social realities of rural Scotland. 

Catriona explained, “I’m thrilled to have been presented with the Fordyce Maxwell Award.  Educating the population about agriculture is a real passion of mine.  I believe that if we would like people to buy our produce, we should welcome them to the farm and educate them, especially the younger generation, about provenance and traceability.”   

This week, Catriona and her brother Russell Brown, will be featuring in the latest episode of OnFarm podcast: OnRecord, a podcast in recognition of RHASS 240th anniversary which shares agricultural and rural stories, relaying people’s experiences of rural life, connections and pivotal moments.  

In Catriona’s episode, due to be available on the RHASS website , she and her brother Russell (20) discuss the importance of engaging with children and teaching them about where their food comes from. 

Catriona continued, “We watch the kids come out to the farm and they soon realise the connection between where the produce comes from and what’s available to buy at the supermarket – and that’s so important.  It’s great to be able to educate them. 

“I feel really honoured to have received this award and very lucky to be in a position that I can positively influence the next generation joining the agricultural sector.” 

Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “We are always delighted to see our students and our alumni playing such a leading role in promoting and communicating positive messages about Scottish farming and the rural sector. Catriona’s highly impressive work at RHASS, particularly at the Royal Highland Show, makes her a worthy winner of this year’s Fordyce Maxwell Award for Agricultural Communications and we would like to congratulate her on this marvellous achievement.” 

To listen to Catriona’s podcast and others in the RHASS 240 Years of Stories series, please click below.

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