Monitor farm search

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is looking for a new monitor farm and facilitators in the Peeblesshire area.

It says the search is in response to demand from farmers in the area.

Former monitor Lilliesleaf farmer Rob Livesey, chairman of NFU Scotland’s livestock committee, underlined the importance of farmers sharing information.

“In today’s environment with an ever changing market, additional expectations and regulatory requirements on us all, it is extremely important to pool our ideas and drive profitability, both for ourselves and the next generation.”

QMS is also looking for professionals to facilitate the new monitor farm project.

The QMS head of industry development Andy McGowan, explained the monitor farm, supported by a community group of local farmers, needed to be typical of livestock farms in Peeblesshire and that the productivity and profitability of the whole farm business would be looked at over three years. The farmer also has to be willing to disclose information about the business.

Mr McGowan said: “The monitor farmer seeks to improve farm profitability through a process of peer review and advice, specialist input and support from the monitor farm facilitators.

“It’s a great way of learning from other people’s experiences, good and bad. “

Some information is shared and discussed at the monitor farm meetings held every few months over the three years.

Mr McGowan said: “The main objective of the project is to bring local farmers and the agricultural industry together to focus on farm business improvements, efficient production and better returns from livestock enterprises.”

Facilitators will work with the monitor farmer to show how the use of accurate baseline and benchmarking information can help to improve the profitability of the monitor the farm and other farm businesses in the area. They will use a combination of practical demonstrations, sharing of best practice and discussion of up-to-date issues to drive change within the community group of attending farmers.

The information gained will also be used to provide information on farm business management to a wider Scottish audience.

The project is funded by the Scottish Government and Quality Meat Scotland with in-kind support from other businesses and organisations.

Mr Livesey said: “For me, one of the most important features of the monitor farm programme is fellowship with others in the same position. Without this, it’s easy to feel isolated and unappreciated – so get out and drive the monitor farm initiative in your area!”

Anyone interested in being a monitor farm or facilitator should contact Mr McGowan on 0131 472 4040 or before Friday 29 June 2012.