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More Funding Made Available for Monitor Farm Programme

08 March 2013

SCOTLAND - Four monitor farms are set to receive grants after the agriculture and horticultural development board secured over £260,000 of government money for use in developing holdings to meet the requirements of modern day agriculture.

Extended over a three year investment period the funding boost is targeted at cereal, oilseed, potato and dairy farmers.

"This new funding is a direct result of the success of our current monitor farm programme," said AHDB Chief Executive Tom Taylor. "Monitor farms work because they use the farm environment to bring farmers and the industry together to look at ways of developing farm business improvements over the longer term."

Mr Taylor stressed the key ambitions from the investments is to achieve production efficiencies, raising overall farm performance and boosting both profitability and sustainability.

Sandy Milne, who runs a pedigree holstein hered at East Pitforthie, near Brechin said that he benfited from both consultants and the monitor farm community group.

"There were many areas of our business where we felt we were doing well; equally, there were areas we felt needed improvement."

"The community group went from being a slightly insular, perhaps shy group of farmers to a group that was far more open to discussion and information transfer. Personally, I now feel much more confident talking to larger groups of people and I think the monitor project has provided a platform for me to become more involved in the dairy industry."

Alistair Hodge- a monitor farmer from the Borders- said that through being a monitor famer he has learnt from others and improved his business.

"The experience of being a monitor farmer has pushed me out of my comfort zone with public speaking and being asked for comments by the press. I find it challenging, but very rewarding and a good experience to go through," said Mr Hodge.

"The project has broadened my horizons - I find myself looking for opportunities to expand my business and personal profile from all angles."

The scheme is part of the Skills development programme of the Scotland Rural Development Porgramme and further additional financing will come from the AHDB to take the overall funding figure to £450,000. 

TheCattleSite News Desk

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