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14/03/19 00:01

Agri-tourism monitor farms

Improving food and farm businesses.

Two farms have been selected to develop their food tourism business and encourage others to follow their example.

Working with other farms, estates and crofts, the two new agri-tourism monitor farms located in East Lothian and Dunbartonshire will help to improve their profitability, productivity and sustainability through practical demonstrations and sharing of best practice.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing made the announcement, which was a Programme for Government commitment, while visiting one of these agri-tourism monitor farms at Castleton Farm, North Berwick.

Mr Ewing said:

“We want farmers and crofters to become more productive, profitable and sustainable, adapting to new practices and willing to innovate in order to secure business viability for future generations.

“Shantron and Castleton Farms are fantastic examples of farmers developing agri-tourism, which has not only driven new income streams, but has also generated thousands of visitors on to farms to learn about food and how it is produced. That is why I have asked them to engage with their peers to share their experience, best practice and facilitate discussions within the sector.

“By doing so, I hope others will follow their lead, helping to improve the sectors overall sustainability and profitability for the next generation. This investment in skills and knowledge sharing will contribute to the continued growth of the vibrant agri-tourism sector in Scotland, which is a key part of the new Food Tourism Strategy.”

Lennox Family of Shantron Farm said:

“We wish to be agri-tourism monitor farmers so we can work with others to learn how to make money from selling the farm experience, in a way that offers a unique day out for the tourist and is financially lucrative for ourselves. We have been in both farming and tourism for a long time but we feel that by combining the two much more smartly, we can develop a distinctive and innovative agri-tourism product in the Scottish tourism market. As monitor farmers we hope that other farmers can also learn alongside us on how to tell and sell their farming story much more effectively.”

Stuart & Jo McNicol of Castleton Farm said:

“We have a cereals farm and an existing events business running weddings and events on site, but would like to develop the agri-tourism, local food and educational element of the experience, to create a year-round destination. Part of this development is our new venture of running a café – Drift – so we applied to become monitor farmers to gain support, ideas and knowledge from our peers to help maximise the potential of this new business.  We also wish to share our learnings with others and take them on a journey with us as we grow our business.”

Background

Castleton Farm in North Berwick is a cereals farm, where the McNicol family have recently developed a new café on cliffs overlooking the sea, to add to their existing events business.

Shantron Farm in Dunbartonshire is a hill farm producing Scotch Lamb, where the Lennox Family have run an agri-tourism business offering farm accommodation for over thirty years.

The Scottish Government’s agri tourism monitor farm programme is a programme for government commitment and is being delivered by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

Scotland’s Food Tourism Action Plan was announced by the First Minister in August 2018.