Lochaber monitor farm opens for first meeting

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Scotland’s nine new monitor farms – including one in Lochaber – are gearing up to open their gates next week to their local farming communities.

At each launch meeting, which are free to attend and open to all, the host farmers will give an overview of their businesses and share their aspirations for the next three years as they focus on improving their production efficiency and margins.

The facilitators for each farm will highlight the key aims of the programme, which is being run jointly by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, with funding from the Scottish Government and European Union’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund.

The objective of the monitor farm programme is to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of farms through practical demonstrations, the sharing of best practice and the group approach to industry issues.

There will be an opportunity for local farmers to get involved with their local monitor farm and join the business group and management group which will be established for each farm.

Douglas Bell, of QMS, is delighted with the diversity of the farm types involved in the programme.

He said: ‘The nine monitor farms selected represent a wide range of farm and business types and range from traditional family farms to larger integrated agribusinesses.

‘The hosts themselves are a mix of farmers and farm managers, managing land held under a range of land tenure options. Some monitor farms are managed by younger farmers, some are in the process of succession and some are comparatively new entrants to farming.’

The locations of the monitor farms are diverse, with farms as far north as Sutherland and Shetland, stretching down to the Borders.

Gavin Dick, of AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, was keen to highlight that the nine monitor farms will work closely together.

He said: ‘The nine farms involved will be examining all aspects of their farm business and will establish a network of information that farmers across Scotland can access.

‘This whole farm approach, while still maintaining sector specialisms, will help Scottish farmers to make real developments in changing farm business management practices, resulting in improved agricultural efficiency, environmental management and helping to mitigate climate change.’

The Lochaber monitor farm meeting is on Thursday January 26 courtesy of Chris Cameron, Strone Farm, Banavie, Fort William. For further information and to book your place, contact Niall Campbell or Morven MacArthur on 01631 563093 / FBSOban@sac.co.uk.