Aylett Roan ready for a sensational Royal Highland Show

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Show director Aylett Roan looks forward to a successful show this year to mark the 200th anniversary.

Originally from Melrose, she now lives and farms in Dumfries and Galloway, working with her husband, Stuart, on their dairy, beef and sheep farm, as well as managing Roan’s Dairy. Here, she tells us about herself and her hopes for the show:

How did you get involved in agriculture?

Originally from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, where at the age of 11 I started working for a family on their farm in Selkirk. I started by watering and feeding the sheep at lambing time for something to do…little did I know it would ignite a fire within me that would stay with me for the rest of my life.

I left school at 15 and went to study agriculture at the local college, which then took me to work in Essex on a pig and sheep farm, before returning to Scotland to complete my studies academics at SRUC Oatridge.

I continued to work in agriculture and agricultural insurance until I met my husband, Stuart. Fast forward a few years and I now work alongside my husband and his family with our two boys, Fergus and Fraser, on a dairy, beef and sheep farm near Dalbeattie.

Since 2011, our cows have been milked by two Lely robots. In 2015, we branched out and created Roan’s Dairy to sell farm-produced milk directly to the consumer.

With my sister-in-law, Tracey, we created The Udder Bar, a milkshake bar that attends festivals, agricultural fairs, weddings and events throughout the year – and yes, the Udder Bar will at the Highland Show!

How did you first get involved with RHASS?

A fellow director in my area casually threw it into the conversation one day, “Have I ever thought about becoming a director of RHASS?. Me… I thought she had lost her mind!

Imposter syndrome set in and I started talking about it and finding more information. When the RHASS Road Show visited a venue in the nearby town, I found it very interesting and useful. I thought ‘well why can’t I?’

About a year later a vacancy in our area became available so I ran and with the support of members from Dumfries and Galloway was elected to a four year term.

Can you tell us how you get involved with Women in Agriculture Scotland? What is WiAS doing at RHS this year?

I am president of Women in Agriculture Scotland. The aim is to support, inspire and develop women in Scottish agriculture to realize their aspirations and create a more progressive, prosperous and inclusive industry.

Our membership is inclusive and we welcome everyone. There is a wealth of experience and knowledge to share and learn from. We do this through events, networking and signage.

As an organization we are apolitical and work closely with industry partners including RHASS – it has been part of WiAS since its inception in 2015.

This year at the show, we will be hosting a breakfast in the President’s Pavilion. There will be networking opportunities and interactive briefings on several common Scottish agricultural issues.

I look forward to reuniting with everyone after a long period of separation, restoring old relationships and creating new ones.

*For more information on the breakfast, which will take place at the show on Thursday, June 23, in the Presidents Pavilion, please visit the social media channels @WiAS. If you are interested in becoming a member of WiAS, please visit the website for details www.womeninagriculture.scot

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a woman working in agriculture and how have you overcome them?

I was lucky and didn’t face many challenges in farming. I always knew what I wanted to do and I went for it.

I was quite determined as I knew I wanted to cultivate, put on the rubber boots, and do hard labor every day. However, if I had been more open-minded, I might have seen different opportunities that I missed – life lesson number one, keep your eyes peeled and explore all avenues!

I will say it’s easier when you’re young and single because you only have to take care of yourself and having a family has challenged me and my outlook and opinions a lot. You can’t just go to work or work late because there are others who rely on you, so having a supportive partner is essential.

Good communication is also vital, but I’m still working on the communication part!

What does your role as HR Director consist of?

I proudly represent my local area of ​​Dumfries and Galloway, and am part of the team responsible for organizing the flagship event – the Royal Highland Show.

I’m the head steward of the goats, which is a delight because goats make me smile – they’re such characters. Along with other directors, I sit on committees within the company, for example the Public Relations and Education (PR&E) committee which feeds into the main RHASS board, where decisions are made that shape the company’s path and strategic direction.

As trustees of RHASS as a charity, we strive to ensure the society stays true to its roots and charters through its charitable mission of supporting and improving rural Scotland.

For many years I only saw RHASS as the Highland Show, but being a director threw that idea out the window – there’s so much more to society.

The Highland Show is just four amazing days all year round, with RHASS constantly working to fulfill its charitable mission, undertaking historic preservation work and continually striving to help and support Scottish agriculture.

How has RHASS innovated this year?

There are lots of exciting new features coming this year, some of my favorites are the RHS app and RHS TV.

The free RHS TV will see a dynamic mix of live and pre-recorded content broadcast throughout the four days. Not only broadcast across the world, RHS TV will also be transmitted across the show on giant screens throughout the four days, with captured content available for viewing on the Royal Highland Show website.

We are also introducing The Big Wheel, which is 32m high and will have views over the whole showground, Edinburgh and the Forth – provided the good Scottish weather is kind to us! You’ll find me driving with a Roan’s Dairy milkshake in my hand.

We also have a dedicated kids’ area, as our team has worked hard to create a super fun, family-friendly space where your little ones can play on climbing frames or ride around on a mini tractor while parents can hang out. sit down and relax for five minutes.

There’s plenty more, but please check the RHS website, social media and press for details.

You appeared on This Farming Life, what was the experience like?

It was brilliant. To begin with, it was a bit strange because I am the last person to put myself in front of a mirror, let alone in front of a camera! But when you’re in your natural environment talking about something you love and do every day, you very quickly forget that there’s a camera pointed at you.

The team at This Farming Life are wonderful and made it a positive and enjoyable experience. The crew was welcomed into our home and into our lives, so we missed them when filming ended (but don’t say so).

We got great feedback from people who loved watching our family which makes you feel good but the highlight was once recognized in the members caravan site toilet block at around 4am ne seeming not ready for the day (if you know, you know) which was funny. I still laugh about it!

I urge anyone to step up for this, it’s a great exhibit for agriculture and lets everyone see beyond the farm.

What are you most expecting from the show this year?

So, so, but in short, a pint or two with friends in the new Silo Bar to catch up on the events of the past few years.

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