Gretna man wins prestigious Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland award

A man from Gretna has won a prestigious award from the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).

Alasdair Houston of Gretna House Farms in Gretna Green received the Sir William Young Award for his outstanding contribution to the world of beef farming.

The award recognizes outstanding contribution to animal husbandry and commemorates the service rendered to Scottish agriculture by the late Sir William Young.

Based at Gretna House Farm, Alasdair’s Gretnahouse herd is one of the most influential in the national Charolais herdbook, with bulls at 25,000gns twice at national sales.

To this exceptional achievement was added the creation of an Aberdeen Angus herd in 2011, and in just a decade Gretnahouse Blacksmith is one of the most sought after bulls in the breed.

In the early stages of the Simmental breed, Gretnahouse’s name echoed across sales rings, with Gretnahouse Supersonic earning wide accolades, and even today her name is scattered throughout the herd book.

But 20 years ago, foot-and-mouth disease tore the heart of the prefix apart, taking all the beautiful animals in the herd with it.

However, with unparalleled resolve and conviction in breeding policies, the Gretnahouse name was reinstated through a new Charolais breeding program through embryo transfer and purchase of some of the best genetics from other breeders.

A highly respected businessman with extensive training and great integrity, celebrated in the hospitality and tourism sector – he received an MBE in 2011 for his services to tourism – the true passion of Alasdair resides in the breeding of purebred cattle.

As President of the British Charolais Cattle Society, Alasdair has modernized its constitution and mission, advancing its youth agenda which will ensure the prosperity of the society for years to come.

Alasdair said, “Winning this award and being in the company of the incredible past winners is a huge honor.

“I am delighted to be recognized for my work in this way, especially since cattle breeding is a passion for me and something that I greatly appreciate.

“Thank you to everyone at RHASS for what is truly an exceptional honor in the industry. “

Bill Gray, President of RHASS, said: “Anyone in the breeding world who hears Gretnahouse instantly recognizes him as a mark of quality, integrity and passionate production of top quality animals.

“Alasdair has been the driving force behind his fantastic herds, not to mention his contribution to the tourism and hospitality sectors, and he has remarkable what he has achieved in a relatively short period of time.

“On behalf of RHASS, we wish him huge congratulations on this well-deserved award.

Amalia H. Mercado