Jakob Eunson is making quite a name for himself in farming.
It is only months, after all, since the 20-year-old won the agricultural category of the land-based and aquaculture learner of the year awards by skills developer Lantra.
Now, he is regarded an ambassador for the agricultural sector after being named an “industry champion”.
The scheme is being hailed as a new Scottish government-backed project that sees former Lantra finalists represent their respective industries. It aims to introduce more people to career opportunities and qualifications offered by the agricultural sector, as well as other land-based industries.
“I was delighted and honoured to be chosen as one of Lantra Scotland’s ambassadors and winning a Lantra award back in March has opened up so many opportunities for me,” said Jakob. “Being an award winner and industry champion has given me great confidence and reinforces the idea that your hard work will be rewarded.”
Jakob works at the family organic farm at Uradale in East Voe – run by his father Ronnie – which offers what is described as a “complete field to fork service” by providing lamb and beef directly to wholesalers and retailers through a butchery service.
The young Jakob undertook an SVQ Level 2 in agriculture and butchery and, latterly,a Modern Apprenticeship with an SVQ Level 3 in livestock production through Train Shetland.
He is keen to develop the retail side of the business, too, and find new ways to market. Last year he set up a Facebook page and built up a community of partners and wholesalers to raise awareness of his products and build sales.
In September he even flew to Normandy in France to a specialist food and drinks fair. “My father recognised a gap in the market to produce and cut our own meat, enabling us to deal directly with customers,” added Jakob.
“We now sell our lamb and beef to hotels, restaurants, shops and cafes across Shetland, mainland Scotland and further afield. There is currently a big demand for organic Shetland farm produce, particularly products like reestit mutton.
“Because we have a butchery, we are targeting more food and drink events where we can meet and talk to customers. Social media is also a useful tool and has helped me to boost sales.
“I’ve had to brush up on my costumer skills which has been a real challenge, but very rewarding.”
• Read more of Jakob’s story, only in Landwise featured in this week’s Shetland Times.