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Meet The Judges

We are excited to finally be able to announce the line-up of judges for this year’s Borderway Agri Expo.

Commercial Classes
Judging the main Cattle Classes is farmer James Crichton from Cumbria; the Baby Beef & Cattle Young Handler Judge will be Argyllshire farmer Duncan Semple and responsible for main Sheep Classes is noted sheep farmer and breeder Stuart Wood. 

Pedigree Classes
The Aberdeen Angus will be judged by Mathew Stoker, of the Easton Greys Herd, Beef Shorthorn will be judged by The Greenley Herd’s Graham Towers and Cameron Jackson who runs the Future Herd will judge the Simmentals. British Blue judge will be Andrew Kay of the Gass herd in Ayrshire and last, but by no means least, the Hereford judge will be Aberdeenshire’s Abbie Anderson, whose family run the Panmure Hereford Herd.

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James Crichton, Egremont, Cumbria

Main Cattle Judge
James Crichton runs the 130-acre Loughrigg Farm at Egremont and focusses primarily on buying cattle to fatten for local butchers. Each year, he fattens roughly 500 Limousin and Charolais cross cattle, as well as lambing 180 ewes from his closed flock of Beltex crosses. Over the decades, he has accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge in the market which he is looking forward to putting to use at the event.

Commenting on his appointment, James said: “Being asked to judge at the Borderway Agri Expo is a great honour. I’ve been involved with livestock and agriculture all my life and have been fattening cattle since I was 15 so I’m excited to bring the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to the event. As always, I’m expecting to see some of the best cattle in the country. In terms of winners, I will be looking for a beast with a good top line and good cover, stylish, with presence and something that is eye catching.”

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Duncan Semple, Carradale, Argyll

Baby Beef and Young Handler Judge
Judging these classes this year is Duncan Semple, of Dippen Farm near Carradale in Argyll. Across 1200 acres of mixed farm, Duncan runs 80 suckler cows and 350 ewes. His cattle are primarily bought from Stirling or are otherwise home bred, and at present he has 15 pure Charolais and the rest are black Limousin cross cows. Despite not having attended Borderway Agri Expo in person, Duncan has had numerous calves show at the event, some of which have achieved success in the ring. Duncan has considerable judging experience and is looking forward to seeing what he knows will be a tremendous line up of young cattle. 

Discussing his role, Duncan said: “I’m extremely honoured to have been invited to judge. It will be my first time in Carlisle – I’m probably one of the very few in the industry who has never attended Agri Expo – and so I’m very excited to be taking part. When judging, I’ll be looking for an animal which is presented correctly, walks correctly, and has a showy head. I am not looking for extremities: it is correctness that matters to me. I want to see a proper loin, and well fleshed calves must walk correctly.”

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Stuart Wood, Aberdeenshire

Commercial Sheep Judge
Full-time fireman Stuart Wood is a renowned sheep breeder and former Auctioneer from Aberdeenshire. Farming just in the region of 350 acres, Stuart along with Partner Stasa and Children Chloe and Murray have a flock of approximately 1200 sheep consisting of pedigree flocks of Pure Beltex, Blue Texel, Badgerface, Dutch Texel and Dutch Spotted, alongside a commercial MV flock of Mules and Suffolk cross ewes. As a noted breeder and exhibitor, Stuart is also a highly experienced judge having judged at The Great Yorkshire Show and the Irish National. 

In accepting the role of Commercial Sheep Judge at the 2021 Borderway Agri Expo, he said: It’s a great honour to be asked to judge this year and it’s an event I have never been to before so I am delighted and really looking forward to it.

“Borderway Agri Expo is such a substantial event in the agricultural calendar and in judging the pairs of lambs I will be looking for a perfect mating pair, with great tops and loins and with attributes relevant to their class, sector and breed”.

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Val Brown, Leyburn, North Yorkshire

Mule Gimmer Lamb Judge
Val has been heavily involved in the sheep industry for most of her life and is no stranger to judging. She has judged mules and young handlers’ classes across the North-East and is a highly respected mule breeder herself. On their farm, Val and her husband Martin run 330 head of sheep along with their flock of mules, Swaledale crossed with the Blue Face Leicester, and breed and show Beltex Crosses as butchers’ lambs.

Val said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to judge at this year’s Agri Expo showcase. I know Borderway well and have attended the event most years, so it will be a real honour. I am expecting to see line up of high calibre entries again this year - I will undoubtedly have a very challenging task! 

“When judging this highly contested section, I will be looking for lambs which are correct, good on their legs, with good skin, plenty of bone and obviously they need to be natural pairing and they need to be good for the breed type.” 

Val will be selecting the winning pair, from what is always a large entry of some of the UK’s finest mule gimmer lambs and presenting the winner with the NEMSA Perpetual Trophy.

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Mathew Stoker, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Aberdeen Angus Judge

41-year-old Mathew Stoker, has worked with pedigree cattle for most of his life and for the last ten years has managed the Easton Grey’s Pedigrees which includes a herd of 60 Aberdeen Angus cows.

He says: “This show is notorious for being the premiere Aberdeen Angus Calf Show in the country and this year, as there really have not been many competitive platforms available, I think there will be a tremendous turn out in terms of numbers and quality. I will be looking for breed character, style, and an easy fleshing type of animal. Something with a good stance and structural correctness, just what the modern Angus needs to be.”

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Graham Tower, Hill House Farm, Welford

Beef Shorthorn Judge
Graham Towers judged at the Beef Shorthorns Spring Show in 2018 and has been a regular visitor to the Agri Expo. In looking forward to the event Graham said: “After two years in lockdown, I was delighted to be asked and I am looking forward to returning to judge the Shorthorn section. Judging is a great challenge; it is always nice to see the young stock as they are the future of the breed. Agri Expo is an important livestock event, and it provides the opportunity to compare the other breeds like for like. In terms of what I will be looking for in choosing the winners, it will be femininity in the females and power in the bull calves.”

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Cameron Jackson, Kirkfieldbank, Lanark

Simmental Judge
29-year-old Cameron Jackson, has been involved with the Simmental breed for most of his life and currently runs The Future Herd at Woodyett Farm, Lanark. Cameron is no stranger to the judging ring, having judged the National Stars show at the Three Counties Showground, and many young farmers competitions. “Agri Expo is an important platform for both pedigree breeders and those in the commercial sector to get out and meet potential customers. It also provides breeders with the opportunity to practice their handling skills and to get their stock ready for the following year’s summer season.”

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​​​​​​​Andrew Kay, Gass Farm, near Maybole

British Blue Judge
Andrew Kay has been breeding British Blues for twelve years. This Scottish breeder set a new British Blue breed record for a bull earlier this year, when his home bred entry, Gass Okay, sold for 30,000gn at the Border British Blue Club’s annual spring show and sale at Borderway. Andrew has judged several regional and local shows, but this will be the largest and most prestigious so far. Andrew says: “It is such an honour to be asked to be a part of such a great show and to judge the British Blue Calf Show. I have been to Agri Expo a couple of times before and think it’s a wonderful day out. This time will be quite a different experience and one which I’m really looking forward to. When judging I will be looking for a good, strong, correct calf with plenty of character about it. I know that I am guaranteed to see a particularly good show of cattle, and the standards will be exceptional. Picking up a rosette at Agri Expo is a huge accolade particularly with such fierce competition.”

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Abbie Anderson, Panmure Hereford Herd

Hereford Judge
Aged just 26, Abbie, a vet, will be one of the youngest judges taking to the ring, and she tells us of her excitement at the opportunity: “I must admit I was quite surprised and very honoured to be asked to judge at this year’s Agri Expo. I have had experience of judging the breed as I judged The Royal Highland Showcase earlier this year and have judged the breed at local shows with my mother. We have shown at Agri Expo in the past and when judging the Hereford section, I will be looking for something with a good head and good ears and of course, size and power are also important.”

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