21st August 2020

Monitor Farm Legacy Initiative Set to Develop Long-term Opportunities

A new Monitor Farm Legacy initiative, which aims to provide host farmers and community groups with an opportunity to review on-going projects that have lasted beyond the last Monitor Farm Programme, has been jointly launched by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Funded by the Scottish Government, the initiative will deliver a series of events where six former Monitor Farms are revisited virtually, and through a series of case studies, will reflect on the themes that were most relevant to their business including: herd/flock productivity, environmental management, diversification, and succession.

Strategic, operational and management groups will be established to review and develop the key aims and objectives of the programme, from setting out KPIs to conducting a six-monthly review of the legacy programme.

The former monitor farms that will be part of the legacy initiative are due to be selected over the coming weeks and will be announced soon.

Bruce McConachie, Head of Industry Development at QMS, said that Monitor Farms have established a strong track record in Scotland and the new programme would build on the success of the initiative, which was originally launched in 2003.

“With farming often an isolating and lonely profession, one of the most profound effects of the initiative has been the bringing together of farming communities. Over 70% of individuals who attended the Monitor Farm programme between 2016-2019 said it allowed them to form new networks and build relationships within their rural community.”

Mr McConachie also highlighted that three years can be a short time in the life of farm enterprises, and in many cases, we may not see the full results of the changes implemented until further down the line. The legacy programme will give stakeholders the opportunity to highlight the outcomes of changes made or trialled during the previous projects and the impact they have had on farm profitability, productivity, and sustainability.

A new Monitor Farm Hub will be developed as part of the programme. It will  provide an online platform and act as a valuable tool for knowledge transfer which will continue to support farmers I Scotland. 

Commenting on the AHDB’s involvement, Claire Hodge, Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager Arable said: “The true value of the Monitor Farm programme is the fact that it is farmer led and farmer driven. The willingness of those involved to openly discuss ideas and challenge each other to think differently has had lasting benefits for all involved. The legacy programme will allow this approach to continue;  building on the success achieved to date and offering individual farmers the support of the wider farming community.”

For more information about the programme, please visit: www.monitorfarms.com


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