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Roadshow will offer farmers guidance on thriving after Brexit

12 February 2018

The AHDB, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) are running three Brexit roadshows across Scotland in February and March.

The events will feature expert speakers from each organisation who will outline the latest thinking on policy, potential implications and opportunities, as well as how farmers can prepare now for the future outside the EU.

The evening events will begin in the north on 21 February at Thainstone House Hotel, before moving down to Airth Castle in Stirlingshire the following day. There will then be a short break before the final event on 8 March in the south west at the Woodland Bay Hotel outside Girvan.

Speakers will include Senior Analyst Sarah Baker on the possible impact of Brexit; SRUC Senior Agricultural Economist Steven Thomson, who will explain the current political debates in Holyrood and Westminster; and Douglas Bell, Head of Industry Development at QMS, who will outline how farmers can prepare for the changes ahead.

Sarah Baker, along with her colleague David Swales, will present on the Horizon reports AHDB has been producing since the referendum in 2016.

Sarah says: “We’ll be highlighting some of the main findings from our Horizon series at the events, focusing on our joint report with SRUC and QMS on the implications of Brexit on Scotland.

“I see our work as a call to action as we know from our research that the top 25% of performers in all sectors, regardless of size, will remain viable in all our post-Brexit scenarios, and there is plenty that farm businesses can do now to mitigate the potential effects of Brexit.”

SRUC Senior Agricultural Economist, Steven Thomson, will discuss the current situation regarding Brexit and how different political outcomes may affect the future of Scottish agriculture.

He says: “Brexit is an extremely complicated process, particularly when it comes to agriculture due to the EU’s protection for the sector. These roadshows are an excellent opportunity for Scottish farmers to better understand some of these complexities and how their business may be affected in the long run. We hope farmers will take the opportunity to learn more about the process, then take stock and think about how to reduce their exposure to Brexit risks.”

Douglas Bell, Head of Industry Development at QMS, will then shift focus to what farmers can do now to begin to prepare for the changes ahead.

“Brexit will bring challenges and opportunities.  The current uncertainty can make forward planning seem particularly daunting but in fact there are lots of proactive steps farmers could be taking in the coming months. The meeting will offer an opportunity to explore some of the steps that farmers can take now, to help ensure their businesses are best placed to rise to challenges and take advantage of opportunities,” said Mr Bell.

The evening will end with a panel discussions with farmers able to ask questions of any, or all, of the expert panel.

The free events are expected to run from 7pm – 9.30pm with tea, coffee and biscuits provided. To help plan catering anyone wishing to attend any of the events can register on eventbrite or by contacting Sarah Hunter-Argyle on 07391 408 808 or at sarah.hunterargyle@ahdb.org.uk.

- Ends -

Notes to editors

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at www.ahdb.org.uk

Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is the public body responsible for promoting the Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork brands in the UK and abroad. QMS also helps the Scottish red meat sector improve its sustainability, efficiency and profitability and maximise its contribution to Scotland's economy. The quality assurance schemes run by QMS cover more than 90% of livestock farmed for red meat in Scotland. They offer consumers in the UK and overseas the legal guarantee that the meat they buy has come from animals that have spent their whole lives being raised to some of the world’s strictest welfare standards. For more information visit www.qmscotland.co.uk or follow QMS on Facebook or Twitter.

Scotland’s Rural College – winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize 2017 – supports innovation and sustainable development in agriculture and the rural sector in Britain and internationally. We are one of the UK’s leading agriculturally-focused higher education institutions, offering a unique blend of research, education and consultancy.

SRUC’s research and education activities operate from six campuses and eight farms and research centres across Scotland. Our consultancy arm, SAC Consulting, supports more than 12,000 farms and rural businesses across the UK from 25 consultancy offices and eight veterinary disease surveillance centres.

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC): Leading the way in Agriculture and Rural Research, Education and Consultancy.

Contacts

AHDB: Sarah Hunter-Argyle, sarah-hunterargyle@ahdb.org.uk, 07391 408 808

QMS: Carol McLaren, cmclaren@qmscotland.co.uk, 0131 472 4038

SRUC: Tom Maxwell, tom.maxwell@sruc.ac.uk, 0131 535 4196

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