SAC launched its second Environmental Focus Farm today (25 May 2007) at Low Holehouse Farm, Ayrshire, courtesy of farmer Mr Willie Campbell. Low Holehouse will act as a test bed where, in the context of regulatory measures and in a real farming situation, farmers can effectively and realistically address diffuse pollution in a practical dairy farming situation.
Low Holehouse joins Mains of Balgavies in Angus as an Environmental
Focus Farm in this initiative which is implemented through SACs Success
through Knowledge programme and supported by the Scottish
Executive Rural Directorate (formerly SEERAD).
Focus Farms are commercial farms representative of the area that
they are in and where the farmer agrees to allow his farm to act
as a focus for a Community Group of farmers, consultants, and other
rural professionals where ideas can be tried out. Modelled
on the highly successful Monitor Farm approach the
objective of the Environmental Focus Farms initiative is to see
a significant part of the programme driven by farmer needs and
aspirations, with SAC providing technical assistance to meet farmer
Speaking at the launch, SAC Chief Executive Professor Bill McKelvey
The issues of diffuse pollution and the use of nitrates have caused much
debate and some considerable concern within the farming community. It is
vital that our response to new environmental regulations should not only be grounded
in good science, but also be practical and acceptable to farmers.
Low Holehouse in Ayrshire, like Mains of Balgavies in Angus, is in a Priority
Catchment identified by SEPA. It is our ambition to develop practical and
economically viable solutions that are applicable, initially within these Priority
Catchments, that may thereafter be applicable across other areas in Scotland.
SAC is grateful to Mr Campbell for his willingness to open up his farm
and act as host for this Environmental Focus Farms initiative and to the Scottish
Executive Rural Directorate for its continued sponsorship.
Speaking at the launch local MSP, John Scott, added,
Farmers have always looked after the countryside. It is in their
interest to do so. However a greater focus on environmental protection and evolving
legislation is putting greater demands on them to make changes that will safeguard
the environment still further.
I welcome SACs Environmental Focus farm initiative and its vision
of involving the community in trying out new ideas and sharing best practice
in the control of diffuse pollution and water quality improvement.
"I join Professor McKelvey in thanking Willie Campbell for allowing this
important initiative to be based on his farm and look forward to positive business
benefits for farmers in Ayrshire and beyond.
Host farmer, Mr Willie Campbell said, "I anticipate this will be an excellent
forum for farmers, environmentalists and regulators to exchange views and concerns
with a common aim of enhancing our sustainable food production base while complying
with good environmental standards"
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