22nd October 2010

QMS launches 'BIG' Opportunity for Cattle and Sheep Farmers

QMS is launching a £600,000 new initiative for beef and sheep farmers with a hunger to improve and grow their businesses.

During the next few months 22 Business Improvement Groups (BIG) will be set up across Scotland allowing around 350 livestock farmers to join a local group involving up to 18 businesses.

The groups will harness financial baseline monitoring and benchmarking figures to improve members’ competitive performance as well as allowing producers to investigate opportunities to collaborate and exchange information.

Progressive commercial livestock farmers are being invited to take part in the inaugural groups. These farmers will have a willingness to be open and honest with group members as well as being committed to taking an active role over the three year term of the group.

The project will be managed by QMS with funding from Scottish Government through the Skills Development Scheme. There will be an annual membership fee to cover meeting costs.

According to Peter Beattie, QMS Technical Projects Manager, the sharp focus of the project will be business improvement of livestock enterprises.

“Many participants will already be excellent technical operators who are involved in livestock or machinery groups” said Mr Beattie.

“What the Business Improvement Groups will do is give a rare opportunity to look at how a farm functions as a business.

“Group members will have a wide range of skills and experience in running their businesses and we anticipate a minority will have some formal business qualifications. The facilitators’ role will be to channel group members’ experiences, knowledge and enthusiasm for the benefit of all the members.”

This project will be managed by QMS with funding from Scottish Government through the Skills Development Scheme.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “The Scottish Government is delighted to support this important initiative with over £380,000 funding from the Skills Development Scheme.

“Part of the Scotland Rural Development Programme, the Skills Development Scheme was set up in 2008 to help improve land managers’ business and countryside management skills. The Scheme has provided over £2.2m of funding for a range of industry-led projects, helping to support the future economic development of farming.”

Business Improvement Groups will be set up in four regions and further information is available from the regional leaders listed ont the BIG page. Information and application forms are also available by visiting www.qmscotland.co.uk/big

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