Third-generation Scots farmer shares story of family business dating back to 1931

James Logan took over the farm from his father Willie and developed it into what it is today.

Third-generation Scots farmer shares story of family business dating back to 1931 RHASS/Muckle Media

A third-generation farmer has shared the story of his family’s business dating back to 1931 to mark the 240th anniversary of Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland.

James Logan lives at Athelstaneford Mains near North Berwick, farming arable and potatoes, alongside his wife Elinor who runs a veg shop offering fresh potatoes, eggs, and vegetables from a vending machine.

James took over the farm from his father, Willie Logan, in 1990, and developed it from a mixed farm which his grandfather, John, started in 1931, to what it is known for today.

James’ father Willie, now 92, lives just seven miles at Samuelston South Main.

Like his dad who was a director with RHASS, James too has been a director for RHASS for several years.

“Being born on the farm, and having come from a line of farmers, you could say I was always destined to become a farmer”, he explained.

“While I toyed with other occupations, my love of the countryside and admiration of what my father did within farming prevailed and after studying agriculture at university, I knew that farming was the right path for me.

“Unlike my father who had and continues to have a great eye for cattle, when I took over the farm, I knew I wanted to run it differently. My dad was very supportive of me changing the format of the farm to focus on potatoes and arable.

“We worked together for many years before his semi-retirement developing our crops and the business, so we have lots of fond memories of the highs and lows of running the business.

“The way I view the future of the farm is that I’m the custodian of my land for a very short while. I have a son and a daughter, who may or may not take over one day, and so I’ve really encouraged them to find their own path to discover what their future looks like.

“My son, Hamish, studied agriculture too and is currently a food and farming consultant for Savills. He is involved in the young farmers community like I was.

“My daughter, Anna, has just become a Chartered Accountant, so while neither of them are currently working on the farm full time, they are part of our succession plan. When they takeover, then they will be armed with a broad range of life skills and know-how that will only help to contribute towards future-proofing the land.

“There are so many other similar stories out there which stretch across generations in how farmland has evolved, the positive impact people have made to the industry and how the use of land has changed to support the future food or supply requirements of wider society. I hope that others come forward to share their tales and help to create a bank of stories that can be preserved for years to come.”

RHASS, which runs The Royal Highland Show, is calling on the people of Scotland and beyond to share their agricultural and rural stories from across the decades in recognition of the anniversary.

Over the next 12 months, the 240 Years of Stories initiative hopes to bring to life tales that relay people’s experiences of rural life, connections and pivotal moments within the agricultural community to celebrate the past, present and future of one of Scotland’s leading industries.

From memories of farming traditions that have evolved from the use of horse and cart to machinery, to reflections of farmland being handed down to sons and daughters, to relaying fantastical stories of wins, losses and experiences of attending Scotland’s leading agriculture show, the Royal Highland Show, RHASS is keen to hear from anyone who has a connection to the agriculture or rural community and charity.

It is hoped that the stories shared as part of 240 Years of Stories will help RHASS connect the stories it receives to its enduring support and commitment to the industry over the past two centuries.

Alan Laidlaw, RHASS Chief Executive added: “RHASS was formed two hundred and forty years ago and while the organisation has evolved tremendously since then, the very reason RHASS continues to exist today hasn’t changed; and that is to champion agriculture and support those who live and work within it. It’s those who have a connection with the sector and industry that we’d love to hear from.

“Whether you were brought up on a farm, have family who own a farm or have historic tales of generations gone by who worked within the sector and contributed in some way to the industry, we’d love to hear your stories. In gathering tales old and new, we can help preserve these stories so that two hundred and forty years from now, future generations can learn and enjoy what has gone before them.”

The stories shared with RHASS will be taken forward in collaboration with the OnRecord – Memories of Rural Life, makers of OnFarm podcast The Scotsman Publications (National World).

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