ANM Group scheme inspires new entrant Ross

A young North-East farmer is planting solid roots at his grandparent’s farm with the support of an ANM Group scheme to encourage new entrants into farming.
Ross Learmonth, 20, is starting out in farming by developing what was a dormant farm business on the maternal side of his family.  Now running Badnyrieves Farm, Maud – and trading as A&E Ferguson - Ross is taking full advantage of the farming co-operative’s new entrants’ scheme. 
Ross, who recently graduated with a first class BSc (Hons) Degree in Agriculture at SRUC Craibstone, said: “Growing up, I was always involved in our family’s mixed arable and beef farm in the Methlick area. Now the chance has arisen to make the best of an under-utilised farm and access the opportunities available for young people in agriculture.”  
The young farmer, who has just started working at Harbro as a Trainee Nutritionist/Livestock Specialist, has demonstrated his award-winning business management skills through several prestigious competitions and awards in recent years.  Ross triumphed as the first student from a Scottish agricultural college to take Gold at the Pinnacle Awards for Farm Business Management skills.  Ross was also winner of the AgriScot Business Skills Award; received the best BSc Agriculture student title with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland Silver medal; as well as being named best fourth-year student for the SRUC Trust Prize; and also being presented with best Honours dissertation for the Malcolm Castle Memorial Prize.
Ross has been faced with many barriers to grow and develop his business, he said: “This support helps new entrants, like me, grow their own farming enterprises helping to safeguard future generations in the industry.  I became aware of the affordable livestock finance schemes and support available for young farmers, and approached the ANM Group to discuss my eligibility.  I signed up to become a member and subsequently gained access to the range of benefits, but primarily to receive essential funding to purchase store lambs.” 
The new entrant’s scheme, set up in 2013, has so far loaned over £400,000 to 18 participants and also provides advisory support to those making a start in the industry.  Ross added: “I welcome the advice from the auctioneers and fieldsmen on livestock marketing and lamb selection and intend to make the best use of this service.”
 John Gregor, Executive Director of the ANM Group, said: “Providing opportunities to enter the industry is a key objective for us; the Group provides simple and flexible finance schemes to assist farmers with their livestock enterprises.  Our members can benefit from the strong financial position and decades of industry experience that the ANM Group provides.  The scheme is an ideal way for the Group to support the next generation of farmers and help strengthen the future of the industry.”