The late Joe Watson, a former chairman of the Guild and agricultural editor at the Press & Journal, has been named as the recipient of NFU Scotland’s prestigious Ambassador Award.
The honour recognises those who have excelled at representing the nation’s agricultural and food industries.
Past recipients include Joe’s fellow Guild members Dan Buglass, who was also awarded it after his death in 2009; and Ken Rundle, head of communications at SRUC, Scotland’s rural university.
The award, which is supported by NFU Mutual, recognises individuals who have played an influential role in communicating the work, challenges and value of Scottish farming and food to a wider audience.
It was received this year by Joe’s mother, Mirren and other members of his family; pictured with her are Joe’s brothers Murdo (left) and Fraser (right), Murdo’s partner Tracey and Joe’s nephew and niece Joe and Amy.
“Joe’s death shocked and saddened the farming community but it is fitting that, as a Union, we celebrate and mark Joe’s massive contribution to Scottish food and farming,” said NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie.
“He achieved an enormous amount but in too short a space of time, and had a drive and passion for his work that was unparalleled.
“Covering hundreds of miles every week to ensure his readers had the very best and latest information, Joe had an encyclopaedic knowledge of agricultural and food issues and all their complexities. His work was highly regarded as providing a balanced and informed view and was appreciated by both the farming community and the Press & Journal‘s wider readership.”
Mr Bowie also highlighted Joe’s achievement in encouraging the British Guild and IFAJ to hold IFAJ Congress 2014 in north east Scotland.
The congress saw rural journalists from around the globe converging on Aberdeen to enjoy a programme of farming and food events pulled together initially under Joe’s watch but which he did not live to see.
Allan Bowie said: “By recognising how highly valued Joe’s life and work was, and sharing that with his family, we hope this award goes some way to recognising the deep respect that NFU Scotland and the farming community had for Joe.”
Posted by Peter Hill