AN independent Scottish salmon farm has been shortlisted for the Rural Business Awards North ceremony.

Celebrating its 20th year as an independent salmon farming business, Loch Duart – based in Sutherland and the Uists – recently launched its Salmon Pool, a partnership with their fish feed supplier Cargill Aqua Nutrition.

The fund is available to charities and projects providing support to the local community.

Alban Denton, managing director at Loch Duart, said: “Scotland is rightfully renowned for its world beating food and drink sector, so for Loch Duart to be shortlisted as one of the North’s Best Rural Food & Drink Businesses is a great honour.

“Awards like the Rural Business Awards are brilliant at highlighting the huge contribution that rural businesses, projects and entrepreneurs contribute to the UK economy. Loch Duart is proud to be a Highlands and Islands business which relies on the fantastic talent and hard work of our rural communities.

“We look forward to meeting some of the other wonderful rural business finalists at the presentation in Newcastle, later this year.”

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Loch Duart salmon is sold to businesses across Scotland and internationally, and their environmentally sensitive approach is employed on farms at a number of small sites, some of which have been rearing salmon for over 40 years.

Since launching in 2018, the company’s Salmon Pool fund has distributed in excess of £31,000 to various projects.

The projects have included providing outdoor clothing and learning equipment to Scourie Primary, helping local football team North Uist United Juniors FC with new equipment, giving children with Downs Syndrome the opportunity to work with horses at Kinlochbervie Primary and purchasing a defibrillator for Community Care Assynt.

Anna Price, the director and co-founder of the Rural Business Awards, said: “The 2019/20 awards have seen record numbers of entries and it’s encouraging to see so many rural businesses express a desire to celebrate their successes on a regional and national scale.

“We are passionate about creating a nurturing environment where rural businesses can develop, and this starts by showcasing the great work they do. On behalf of everyone at the Rural Business Awards, we want to say well done to Loch Duart, and all the shortlisted businesses, and wish them luck ahead of the regional finals.”

The Rural Business Awards host a series of regional finals in the North, East, Midlands, South East, South West, Wales and Northern Ireland, throughout October and November 2019, ahead of the National Final in February 2020.

The awards were set up by business owners Price and Jemma Clifford in 2014 with the aim of celebrating the achievements of rural firms and developing a strong network for rural entrepreneurs.