QMS Search for Monitor Farm

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has launched the hunt for a suitable candidate to become the centre of the Banff and Buchan farming community.

QMS is searching for a farm to become the area's latest Monitor Farm when the current project concludes in early December.

Monitor farms are normal commercial farms representative of the local style of farming and the environment in which they operate, and where the farmer is prepared to allow other farmers access to both the farm and the decision-making process. The ultimate aim is to improve the profitability of farming in the area of the monitor farm.

Robert, Ethel and Ian Chapman are the current monitor farmers for the region, they run 700 acres at West Cockmuir, Strichen, Aberdeenshire.

Robert found that opening his farm up to ideas from the local community had been a positive experience, and has resulted in some important changes to his business.

He said: "It's been a really good experience and I've thoroughly enjoyed it. But more importantly working with an excellent group up here has helped the farm business improve its efficiency. The single biggest change I've made has been finishing my cattle quicker and reducing the cost.

"A suitable candidate for Monitor Farmer has to be fairly open, receptive to new ideas and be able to listen to advice. At the end of the day it's their decision whether or not to follow advice and to choose solutions that are best suited to their systems."

Johnny Mackey, Technical Projects Manager for QMS who leads the project said: "We are all very aware of the tight margins involved in beef and lamb production. The choice is to either sit back and accept our fate or do something about it.

"The project is about improving the profitability of your own business by working with like-minded farmers to examine every aspect of the farm to improve its bottom line.

"There are 10 Monitor Farms around Scotland now with more than 500 farmers working together with a common 'can do' attitude. It's too good an opportunity to miss and I'd encourage anyone who thinks they've got what it takes to volunteer."

Nominations are now open for new candidates, anyone wanting to be the next monitor farm should contact Mike Fettes at SAC in Turriff on 01888 563333.

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