TV weather presenter Cat Cubie brought a welcome ray of sunshine with her when she visited a Fife livestock farm this week and had her first experience of lambing.
Ms Cubie joined Carole and Ian Brunton at Balmonth Farm near Anstruther to learn more about their sheep enterprise and commemorate the tenth anniversary of the farm opening its gates to school children through visits organised by the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET).
During the past decade the Bruntons have welcomed a remarkable 1500 children onto their 300 acre farm which is home to 200 breeding ewes, mostly Texels and Half-breds, and 90 suckler cows.
Ms Cubie has been working with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) on a campaign to encourage consumers to better understand what the Scotch Lamb label stands for in terms of traceability and quality assurance. QMS is also supporting RHET to encourage more livestock farmers to open their gates to school visits.
Jim McLaren, Chairman of QMS said: “It is extremely important that we have producers like the Bruntons who willingly give up their time to host visits by children. This ensures children have a better understanding of the skills and care which goes into Scottish livestock production and the world-leading assurance schemes which we have in place.”
Lambing is currently in full swing on the farm where the persistent wintry weather has been proving a challenge. Ewes which would usually have been turned out onto grass with their newborn lambs are being held in the lambing shed as a result of the bitterly cold conditions.
Despite the busy time of year the Bruntons, along with SRUC Edinburgh student Craig Smith from Bankfoot, were delighted to host the visit by Cat. According to Ian Brunton time spent hosting visits by school children is an investment in the future of the livestock industry.
“Children are our consumers of the future and it is very important they are able to come onto a farm and see for themselves what livestock production is all about and where their food comes from,” said Mr Brunton.
Carole Brunton, who is also RHET’s Fife Countryside Initiative Project Co-ordinator said the enthusiasm shown by the children during the visits is also hugely rewarding.
“The opportunity to get out and visit a farm is absolutely fantastic and the children get loads out of the experience which is relevant to a range of different subjects across the curriculum, from horticulture and geography to maths and biology,” said Mrs Brunton.
Caption: Cat pictured at Balmonth Farm, where lambing is in full swing, with farmers Ian and Carole Brunton.Cat pictured at Balmonth Farm, Anstruther, where lambing is in full swing with farmer Carole Brunton, also RHET’s Fife Co-ordinator, and another visitor to the farm, five-year-old Shula Blues