Deborah Ryan, Office Manager

30 May 2022

On Wednesday 1st June I will have been with Balcaskie for 13 years. In that time, I have seen many changes….

We have grown from 6 members of staff to 27, redundant farm buildings have been transformed into thriving commercial units, the Estate has increased in size both through purchasing Newark & Bowhouse Farm & also the addition of Stenton Farm, our farming practices are always changing & evolving, our cattle have changed, our sheep numbers  have increased, we have added an event space & a butchery, I’ve even been here long enough to see our first ever apprentice return as our stockman, the list could go on & on.

As with all jobs on Balcaskie there is a huge variation of things to do which means my job is never boring or any day the same.

In the last couple of weeks, we have finished calving & lambing & all our new borns have to be added to our livestock management programme & also added to the Scottish Government database. The calving sheets are sent to me weekly by Cammie, our stockman & I am responsible for making sure all our livestock are recorded correctly & all our legal obligations are met. This year we have had 214 calves born, once I have updated their details on Agriwebb, our livestock management software program, I then ensure each calf is registered with ScotEID, the Scottish Governments Livestock register & issued with a passport. Each one of our 909 cattle have a passport & cattle cannot be moved on or off the farms without it. Our pedigree Lincoln Red cattle also must be registered with the Lincoln Red Cattle Society & the females (heifers) are also named. I don’t get to choose the names as they are all named after their mothers, this year we have had a few unusual ones such as Balcaskie Treasure, Balcaskie Helibore & Balcaskie Gift.  Our sheep recording isn’t quite so complicated which is probably a good thing with approx. 1700 being born this year, but it is still a legal requirement to ensure the information is up to date & accurate.

The end of the month is a busy time as I am also responsible for the Estate’s payroll, with so many people & different departments this takes a bit of time to pull together but it’s a part of my job I really enjoy. However, there is no room for error as everyone knows where I live!!!

There are 7 of us in Balcaskie office, but I am also kept company in the office by Theia my 7-month-old cocker spaniel, who loves to come to work & socialise with everyone.

As well as Office Manager for Balcaskie which covers a multitude of tasks I also oversee the running of Sales Ledger for our London Office, this includes collecting rents, chasing arrears & dealing with London finance team daily & because of this I spend a few days in London every month. I am off to London next week ,  I do enjoy being there & feel it is a huge benefit to have face to face meetings with the people you work with, it is always a busy time trying to fit all the things you need to do into a few days which means I have to be super organised before I get there. The London office is always very welcoming & both our offices work well together but I am always happy to get home to Balcaskie.

When I’m not at work my husband Neil & I spend most of our time with our 3 dogs & 4 horses. Neil organises our Comielaw cook-offs which are quite competitive, we have a themed night & everyone brings a dish which is judged & the winner picks the next theme. We have had everything from curry nights to anything with pastry! It does sound like a cliché but there is a good comradery within Balcaskie & it feels very much like a family. Whether it’s an organised quiz night or an impromptu burger & a pint at Ovenstone 109 on a Sunday afternoon, we do like a social get together!

So, here’s to the next 13 years……


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