Scottish Farm Resilience Network event

October 29, 2021

On Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th October, 25 farmers attended our Scottish Farm Resilience Network event in New Cumnock, Scotland. Attendees were from the Arran 2017 group, and the Dumfries House 2017 and 2021 groups.

On the first afternoon, farmers took part in a Ready for Change workshop, sponsored by McDonald’s. This session looked at upcoming policy changes in Scotland, how farmers could prepare their businesses, and what they can do now to be ready for the future. Whilst there is still uncertainty in the upcoming changes in Scottish Agricultural Policy, there was a lively discussion amongst the group, which continued through to dinner.

On day two, the group took a tour of the Dumfries House home farm. The farm is managed organically, and produces native breed livestock in line with the vision of our Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales. The farmers asked a lot of questions around organic certification and the value of traditional breeds.

Following the tour, the farmers took part in two further workshops on Livestock EID and Making Tax Digital. Farmer Robert Neill, who completed a Nuffield Farming Scholar on ‘Electronic Identification (EID) in the cattle industry’ explained how EID can help improve the efficiency and accuracy measuring and monitoring livestock performance. He explained that SCOT EDI, which manages the database for recording animal movements in Scotland, may introduce mandatory EID tags by 2023 to improve traceability within food production. Tom Nelson from J and M Anderson, who make compatible ear tags for EID readers, explained the makeup of the numbers of each ear tag. He explained how different ear tag shapes suit different animals and farm systems better to reduce the loss of ear tags.

William Duncan and Co looked at the implications of the transition from paper to digital by Making Tax Digital. Although some farmers may find the transition to this system difficult, they explained the benefits of having accurate business information to make informed decisions for their farm and family. The provided examples of accounting software to use and suggested to speak to their accountant for support. The event concluded after these workshops, but many of the farmers chose to stay for lunch and to look around Dumfries House.

Heather Wildman, the coordinator for the Scottish Farm Resilience Network said: “The Farm Resilience Network event was received really well by those who attended. There was a genuine feeling of warmth and happiness of getting to see fellow likeminded farming families who had followed through the same program as themselves, and wanting to share their stories with others, what they have done and achieved since the programme, what were the highlights for them and a keenness to continue this learning and sharing.”

The Farm Resilience Network offers free ongoing training and support to farm businesses in the UK, with advice worth hundreds of pounds. If you’d like to take advantage of this free support, click here.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund would like to thank their funders, the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust and McDonald’s, for their support of the Farm Resilience Network.