Over 30 Nuffield scholars from around the globe had a taste of “Scotch” they won’t forget this week during a visit to Perthshire.
The visitors, who came from countries as far afield as Australia and New Zealand as well as Ireland and the south of England, were in Scotland as part of a field tour following the Nuffield International Triennial Conference.
One of the highlights of their trip was a visit to The Famous Grouse Experience, Glenturret Distillery near Crieff where they were served some innovative Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb dishes, prepared by Wilde Thyme Head Chef Shawn O’Connor and team. Each of the dishes was carefully paired with different Scotch whiskies to enhance the flavours.
Quality Meat Scotland Chairman Jim McLaren updated the scholars on the latest opportunities and challenges facing the Scottish red meat industry and particularly highlighted the positive environmental story the industry has to tell.
“I am hugely passionate about our industry’s positive sustainability credentials,” Mr McLaren told the visitors. “Over 80% of Scottish agricultural land is grass and rough grazing unsuitable for cereal, vegetable or fruit farming but ideal for quality beef and lamb production.”
Mr McLaren also said his view was that there is great potential for the industry to benefit from farmers, and others in the red meat industry around the world, working together to voice a united, positive message.
“As producers we have a real opportunity to work together to ensure we communicate the truth about our industry and dispel the misconceptions which those with an anti-red meat agenda seek to propagate.”
The scholars visited several beef and sheep farms in Perthshire including Highland Wagu, run by Mohsin Altajir, and Falleninch, run by the Hornall family, as well Netherton, run by the McLaren family.
Their Perthshire tour also took them to Balthayock, run by Major David Walter, and Incheoch, run by the McGowan family, with a final stop at Graham’s Dairies to see the Limousin herd and hear an update on genomics research from Alison Glasgow.of the British Limousin Cattle Society.
The guests also got a flavour of Highland dance on the final evening of the tour hosted by Nuffield scholars Alex Brewster, Robert Parker, Neil McGowan and Heather Wildman
Robert Parker, who farms near Stranraer at Drumdow, the current Scotch Beef Farm of the Year, said the visitors had been very impressed with the farms they had visited.
“Many thanks to all the farmers who took time to host the visits this week,” said Mr Parker. “Our guests were really impressed with all the farm businesses they visited but a real highlight was their evening at Glenturret Distillery.
“The view shared by many, after that visit, was that promoting the quality and heritage of top quality Scotch Beef and Lamb alongside Scotland’s famous national drink is a recipe for future success!”