Borders dairy farmers are invited to a meeting in Ayrshire next week to hear about export growth possibilities for Scottish dairy produce.
With farmgate prices at a perilously low ebb, the meeting at Gailes Hotel near Irvine on Thursday, February 4, will hear from Paul Grant, chairman of the Scottish Dairy Growth Board.
Appointed by Scottish Government in 2014, following a review of the sector in Scotland, Mr Grant is leading efforts to identify new export market opportunities for Scottish dairy produce and stimulate inward investment in the shape of processing. In June 2015, the Growth Board launched the Scottish Dairy Brand, a logo for products such as cheese and butter, designed to help retailers and overseas buyers boost the profile of Scottish dairy produce.
NFU Scotland Milk Committee chairman, Graeme Kilpatrick, said: “This is a hugely challenging time for just about anyone who is milking cows. The collapse in demand from China for dairy commodities, the loss of the Russian market to European produce and a huge surge in milk production in some parts of Europe offer little short-term respite from the current crisis.
“However, work to develop added value, branded markets for our produce must go on as it offers some positive medium to long term prospects. Scottish export growth around products like whisky, beef and salmon show what can be achieved and Mr Grant’s own success in exporting jam to more than 50 countries worldwide means we have someone with a proven track record ideally placed to inform Scottish dairy farmers about the opportunities that lie out there.”
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Grant said: “I am looking forward to sharing the activities of the Scottish Dairy Growth board with local farming members.”