14th February 2012

Launch of next phase of Pig Monitor Farm Project

Quality Meat Scotland has launched the search for a new Pig Monitor Farm as the project moves into a new phase.

The latest three-year phase of the project, which is being funded by QMS and the Scottish Government, was launched at the NFU Scotland Annual General Meeting today (14 February). This second phase of the project will be based around a single monitor farm, but feature five regional groups to discuss lessons learned from the farm.

Phase one of the project, which was based around two farms in Aberdeenshire and Angus, has come to the end of its three year term. It has proved very useful to those that took part and pig farmers are being urged to get involved with the new projects.

Philip Sleigh, Chairman of the NFU Scotland Pigs Working Group and a member of the QMS Pig Forum, said: “I’m very positive about the project which has been an incredibly useful exercise over the past three years. The launch of the new phase will offer further opportunities for farmers and stockmen to come along to meetings to help broaden the expertise of the Scottish pig industry.

“The pig industry owes a debt of gratitude to the two previous monitor farmers for being brave enough to put their financial and physical performance figures out for the wider industry to see. Everyone I’ve spoken to has had a positive experience from the meetings and they have all come back with some way to improve their enterprise.

“What is particularly good is that the meetings have had staff from throughout the pig enterprises, rather than just farmers and managers. This is valuable as a learning experience for everyone, as staff may have more of a ‘hands on’ role within the unit and may have different concerns to the owners.

“Pig farmers in Scotland have a good reputation for working together for the good of the industry, and this project will help us go further down that road.”

QMS will be selecting the facilitators for the next stage of the project shortly and they will then be looking to identify a suitable farm to be the centre of the discussions.

Andy McGowan, QMS Head of Industry Development Manager,, said: “After we’ve identified the farm, we can then establish the satellite groups so that no producer has to travel too far to take part, although the groups in Dumfries and Moray will probably stay the same.

“We’ll be continuing to use the performance benchmarking software which proved successful from the last phase, which will enable those taking part to see how their businesses are doing in comparison with their colleagues.”

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Monitor Farms continue to deliver real financial benefits to farm businesses across Scotland so I am particularly delighted that the pig sector will continue to profit from the new ideas, shared knowledge and expertise which the programme offers. The funding made available for this expansion is a further example of the Scottish Government’s determination to help farmers and drive efficiencies throughout the industry.”

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