Central Scotland MSP Graham Simpson met with NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and SAC Consulting on a fact finding farm visit at Gaindykehead Farm. The visit aimed to highlight the importance of sustainable food production for the country, and the benefits of agriculture to the Scottish economy.
The farm visits will run weekly from Friday 10 September in the run up to COP26, the global climate change summit being hosted in Glasgow between the 1-12 November 2021, and will have particular emphasis on the environmental innovation taking place on farm.
Mr. Simpson got the chance to meet local farmer John Brown and see first-hand what action they are taking to help to tackle climate change in the area.
John Brown and his family have been farming at Gaindykehead Farm near Airdrie in North Lanarkshire for many generations, operating a dairy farm in the 1960's up to 2006 when they decided to cease milk production on their 102 hectare unit and started finishing cattle bought from other farms and crofts around Scotland.
Annually the business buys in around 2,500 beef bred steers and heifers at around 500 kg liveweight and finishes them on a ration of potatoes, silage and barley in around 100 days. The farm utilises home grown grass silage and food waste in the form of rejected potatoes from supermarkets and other products such as bread waste to feed their cattle. They also use wood fines from local mills to bed cattle, which is also surplus to other industries' needs.
Graham Simpson, MSP for Central Scotland said: “It was a real treat visiting Gaindykehead Farm. John showed me elements of his farms food production that deliver positive action for the climate and biodiversity.
“Climate change means concerted action must be taken by Scottish agriculture, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact we are usually talking about small businesses juggling a huge range of obligations.
“The Scottish Red Meat Industry is a priority sector that supports over 50,000 jobs throughout Scotland, and visiting Gaindykehead Farm showed me some of the exciting work local farmers and producers have been doing to put them on a path to meeting climate change targets.”
“I look forward to keeping up my engagement with local farmers and supporting them in Scottish Parliament.
John Brown, owner and farmer of Gaindykehead Farm said: “We had a great visit with MSP Graham Simpson last week and some of his colleagues.
“The visit was ahead of the COP26 conference to help give an insight for MSPs to see a working finisher beef farm and the ideas we are doing to help manage climate change and efficiency of the beef industry.
“I hope more MSPs take up the chance to visit farms and see that we are the solution to climate change and to supply good quality local Scottish beef and lamb.