We were delighted to present RSGS Honorary Fellowship to Nigel Miller, Pete Ritchie and Andrew and Seonag Barbour for their outstanding work towards promoting sustainable farming in Scotland. The awards were presented by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon MSP at RSGS Headquarters.

left to right- Andrew Barbour, Nigel Miller, Mairi Gougeon MSP, Seonag Barbour, Pete Ritchie.

“We were very pleased to present RSGS Honorary Fellowship to Nigel, Pete, Andrew and Seonag, for their collective work as panellists of the Farming for 1.5°C inquiry, and for their individual efforts towards rebuilding our declining biodiversity “commented RSGS Chief Executive and Co-Chair of the Farming for 1.5 Inquiry, Mike Robinson. “The farming sector is absolutely key for Scotland to achieve its target of Net Zero by 2045, requiring full engagement across the sector. Our newest Fellows demonstrate not only how sustainable farming can be done here in Scotland, but how it can thrive.”

The Farming for 1.5°C inquiry brought together farmers, academics and NGO representatives to publish a consensus pathway for making Scottish farming climate compatible. In a highly praised report produced last year, Farming 1.5: From Here to 2045, the Inquiry was able to set out a credible way forward, by convening different perspectives and aspirations from farmers, scientists and policy experts.  

Nigel Miller is Co-Chair of the Farming 1.5°C Inquiry, former Chair of The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group for Scotland and the NFUS Livestock Committee. He also held the position of President of NFU Scotland over the period of the last CAP Reform. Since then, he has been a board member of SRUC and SAC Commercial and today is a board member of the Moredun Research Institute and Chair of Livestock Health Scotland.

Nigel Miller with Mairi Gougeon MSP

“To be recognised by the Society is a high point in my life and a real honour and privilege; but also an occasion to feel inadequate compared to those that have gone before and received honours from the RSGS” commented Nigel.

“I think the Fellowship is very much for all of my colleagues; the diverse and talented people that have been part of the Farming for 1.5 Inquiry. A group that has worked with a single purpose to map out a positive pathway for agriculture towards the net zero goal. A pathway that protects communities, the food economy, landscapes and that can also enhance biodiversity. I hope the groups outputs will support the work of the RSGS and will add positive dimensions to Scottish Rural policy as we move closer to 2045.”

Pete Ritchie is Executive Director of Nourish Scotland, which he co-founded in 2013. He also runs Whitmuir Organics with his wife and business partner Heather Anderson, where they strive to minimise waste and operate sustainably. Pete is a first- generation farmer who was instrumental in setting up the Farming for 1.5°C Inquiry.

Pete Ritchie and Mairi Gougeon MSP

Pete commented “it was a great honour to have my work with the Farming for 1.5 panel recognised by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.  Unlike so many of those honoured by the society, we didn’t explore remote territories or name new species – but we did venture on to new ground, looking for a way for Scotland to do food better on this small planet. I’m delighted to receive this award.”

Andrew and Seonag Barbour run an organic livestock enterprise with their family in Highland Perthshire. Andrew and Seonag are leading lights with respect to organic livestock farming and agro-forestry, and contributed to and demonstrate on a daily basis the sustainability measures laid out by the Farming for 1.5 inquiry.  Together their farm has been a fantastic example of what is possible to achieve with a more sustainable long-term mindset.

Andrew Barbour and Seonag Barbour receiving Honorary Fellowship from Mairi Gougeon MSP

“Agroforestry remains a critical and easy step to deliver net zero for farming in Scotland” commented Andrew. “It is better for the land and the welfare of the animals and I hope will form a central component of future faring practices. We are hugely honoured to receive this recognition from this prestigious society.”