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Highly regarded Scottish sheep farmer recognised by prestigious NSA award

13th December 2022

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is pleased to announce Scottish sheep farmer Ian Duncan Millar as the deserving recipient of the NSA George Hedley Memorial Award for 2022 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the UK sheep industry.

Ian is regarded by many as one of the most exemplary leaders within the UK sheep industry today. Through his support and early adoption of numerous programmes including performance recording in hill sheep, early co-operative breeding schemes and through his role as a highly valued adviser to researchers developing breeding indexes for UK hill sheep he has been instrumental in the multifaceted progression of the sector.

As well as his work on farm Ian has also held many positions on industry boards and committees. He was an integral component of co-operation within the UK lamb sector as seen by his directorship of Highland Glen Producers Ltd (1979-) and director of copious industry bodies including Farm Assured Scotch Livestock (1989–97); Scottish Quality Beef and Lamb Association (SQBLA) (1997–2000), and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) (2000–2002). He was Chair of the UK Fallen Stock CIC from 2004-2012, providing strong and wise leadership in challenging circumstances.

In recognition of these many contributions to the sector, Ian was made a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies and a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. He has had a very long and effective interest in sheep health research, development and practice, exemplified by his Chairmanship of the Moredun Foundation (2012-2020). Ian has provided vision and expertise whilst supporting collaboration with industry leaders, technical advisers and producers to ensure influence of factually accurate livestock science.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “I’m delighted that this year’s award has gone to Ian. There was some really stiff competition from a number of other nominees, all of which would have made worthy winners, but there was unanimous agreement that this year’s award should go to Ian for what is a lifetime's effective work to further Britain’s sheep industry and this is just what the award is there to recognise.”

Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director and Chief Executive of the Moredun Foundation adds: “I am delighted that Ian is to receive the NSA George Hedley award for his contribution to the sheep industry. Ian has been an outstanding ambassador for the sheep industry and for health and welfare in particular.  He is a practicing farmer with a genuine interest in and awareness of the importance of scientific innovation. He was a great Chairman of the Moredun Foundation and we appreciate all his leadership in ensuring impact of our research & development.”

NSA Scottish Region Interim Chairman Peter Myles says: “I am delighted. Ian has put his redoubtable drive, vision and enthusiasm into not only the improvement of his own flock but also our national flock as a whole, utilising his talents and the many facets of his work over the years. Ian is a very worthy winner of this prestigious award.”

Ian comments: “It was a huge surprise as well as an enormous honour to be awarded the George Hedley Memorial Award. To think of all the folk who have been here before me is quite mind blowing. I have been very fortunate to have had a number of interesting ‘jobs’ through my career, and throughout that time I have always been in my 'day-job', a farmer, and sheep are a big part of what I do, so I suppose I have seen things through that prism, and if as a result I have helped our fantastic industry along the way, that has been an immeasurable bonus.  NSA does a great job in supporting and promoting our sector in the corridors of influence, so I am very supportive, and to be recognised in this way is very moving indeed. Thank you.”

The formal presentation of the George Hedley award will be amongst Ian’s many friends and colleagues from the industry at the Annual Regional Member’s Meeting (ARMM) of NSA Scottish Region, to be held on Thursday 19th January at Glensaugh Research Farm, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, AB30 1HB.