18th July 2013

QMS Appoints New Scottish Sheep Strategy Development Officer (North Region)

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) has appointed Michael Blanche as its new part-time Scottish Sheep Strategy Development Officer (North).

Mr Blanche (44), will be responsible for the strategic development of the Scottish Sheep Strategy in the north of Scotland. Working closely with Katie Keiley, Scottish Sheep Strategy Development Officer (South), his focus will be on increasing the uptake of breeding technologies leading to a range of benefits for the Scottish sheep producers including: reduced production costs; improvement in the quality and consistency of Scotch lamb; and an increased demand for recorded breeding stock.

Mr Blanche, who is married to Kate and has four children, farms 515 acres at Culteuchar Farm near Perth on a 10 year Limited Duration Tenancy (LDT), having built up a flock on seasonal lets over eight years. His sheep enterprise is based on a flock of 650 ewes, made up of Scottish Blackfaces, Wiltshire Horn cross Texels and Lleyns.

Having previously worked as a SAC agricultural adviser and latterly an independent farm consultant, Mr Blanche is also a 2010 Nuffield Scholar. His scholarship saw him study "The Farming Ladder" which entailed visiting a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand and India to look at how new entrants can build a successful farm business from limited resources.

Kathy Peebles, QMS Livestock Development Manager said: “Following an open tender process, Michael takes over the reins from Stuart Annand who has moved to a new role.

“Michael is joining us at an ideal time as we launch this year’s series of free Performance for Profit workshops where Katie and Michael will both be on hand to help breeders get to grips with how they can maximise returns from their flock.”

Workshop venues:

Tuesday 30th July 2013, W & C Ingram, Logie Durno, Pitcaple, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, AB51 5EL

Tuesday 27th August 2013, N & G Armstrong, Kirvennie Farm, Wigtown, Wigtownshire, DG8 9DQ

Wednesday 28th August 2013, B Goldie, Townfoot, Mouswald, Dumfriesshire, DG1 4LX

Thursday 29th August 2013, N & D McGowan, Incheoch Farm, Alyth, Blairgowrie, Perthshire, PH11 8HJ

Wednesday 4th September 2013, J Elliot, Roxburgh Mains, Kelso, Roxburghshire, TD5 8NJ

(Plus stand at Kelso Ram Sales, Friday 13th September 2013).

All workshops begin at 7.30pm and there is no need to book a place. For more information, please contact Katie Keiley or Michael Blanche at QMS on 0131 472 4040 or visit the website at www.scottishsheepstrategy.org.uk.

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