21st September 2010

Hunt on for Mull and Kintyre Monitor Farms

Quality Meat Scotland is bringing the Monitor Farm Programme to Mull and Kintyre for the first time and, supported by NFU Scotland, is launching the search for two new monitor farms.Monitor farms are commercial farms that are typical of other farm businesses in an area. They act as a central point where local farmers can come together and discuss improvements that relate to the farm in question and will also be relevant to other farms in the area.

 The two new farms follow on from the success of the North Argyll and Bute monitor farm projects which finished last year. Details of these and all the other monitor farms can be found on the QMS website at www.qmscotland.co.uk/monitorfarms

 Two open meetings will be held in the coming weeks at which potential monitor farmers and facilitators and others can find out more. The first, hosted by the NFUS and QMS, will be at the Argyll Arms Hotel, Campbeltown starting at 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th September. A second meeting will be held at the Isle of Mull Hotel, Craignure, starting at 7.30pm on Thursday 30th September.

Launching the search for two new farms Peter Beattie, Technical Projects Manager for QMS, said becoming a monitor farm is a great opportunity to study and improve the financial performance of a farm and try out some of the ideas generated by the community group of local farmers.

“Becoming a livestock monitor farm is a three-year commitment for a farmer, supported by a facilitator, visiting specialists and the community group. The first step for a new monitor farmer is a close look at the financial and performance figures of the business. Accompanied by a discussion to establish the long-term aims of the farm business, this provides the raw material from which improvements in performance and profitability can be measured.

“Some of this information is then shared and discussed at monitor farm meetings, held every couple of months. The changes in the outlook and confidence of the monitor farmer over the three years of the project can be huge,” said Mr Beattie.

“Many monitor farmers change their approach to their business for the better. New contacts are made, resulting in better collaboration and they become more confident in marketing their sheep and cattle. It’s a win-win situation for the monitor farm and the visiting farmers who can see improvements that they can then apply to their own businesses.”

Scotland’s monitor farms are also delivering major benefits to the Scottish rural economy, with a recent study suggesting £6.50 was generated on average by the monitor farm and local community from every pound invested in the programme.

If you know someone who would make a good monitor farmer in Kintyre or Mull or if you are a livestock farmer who thinks your business could become the new Monitor Farm please contact Lucy Sumsion, NFUS Regional Manager on 01499 600154 or by email: lucy.sumsion@nfus.org.uk for more information. Nomination forms can also be downloaded from the QMS website www.qmscotland.co.uk. The closing date for monitor farm nominations is Friday 30th October.

Additional information:

The criteria for selection of a Monitor Farm include;

  • The farm should be typical of livestock farms in the area
  • The farmer must be an assured member of the QMS Cattle and Sheep Scheme
  • The farmer should be keen to discuss their hopes and aspirations for their business with a group of neighbouring farmers.
  • Farming must be the full time profession of at least one of the family members
  • The farm, where tenanted, requires support for the project from their landlord


  • A Monitor Farm is a 3 year commitment
  • There will be up to 5 farm visits per year
  • There will usually be one open farm day per year.
  • The farmer should be willing to open the books of the business to the facilitator who will explore key business data at Monitor Farm meetings and publish occasional articles in the press.

 Dealing with visitors

  • There should be at least one person from the farm willing to speak at meetings
  • Facilities should be sufficient to cater for up to 50 visitors; e.g. car parking, covered area.


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