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French visitors given insight into Scottish farming

Stand displaying QMS literature

MORE than 40 high-level executives from France’s agricultural, agro-industrial and agro-food sectors gained an insight into Scotland’s agricultural and meat processing systems on a visit to a Tayside farm.

The chief executives, presidents and others are members of Club DEMETER, an organisation of key decision-makers. Their trip to Over Finlarg Farm at Tealing near Dundee was organised by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the public body which promotes Scotland’s red meat sector.

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Gordon Newlands, Brand Development Manager at QMS, explained: “When we discovered that Club DEMETER members were keen to come to Scotland to find out more about the country’s agriculture we suggested they visit the award-winning Over Finlarg farm run by Robert and Hazel McNee.”

The visit had three elements. The first comprised a farm tour conducted by Robert and Hazel Mcnee and led by Beth Alexander, Monitor Farm Manager, QMS. The second focused on ‘The future of wool’ and was conducted by the Chair of British Wool, Jim Robertson of Becks Farm, Langholm.

Gordon said: “In the third element I explained about our processing sector, how we carry out processing in Scotland and how it differs from France. The morning ended with a lunch on the farm for the delegates centred around Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.”

He believes the visit proved a fantastic opportunity to showcase Scotland’s farming systems and Over Finlarg Farm was the ideal location.

This latest delegation was one of an increasing number of inward missions. It came after another venture earlier this summer when a party of French chefs visited Scotland. Their itinerary included a visit to Edinburgh Cook School and a trip to the home of Aberdeen Angus in Ballindalloch. That proved to be very positive and QMS is now working with those chefs to promote Scotch Beef in France.

Gordon added: “It’s important we facilitate these visits because the export market is strong. We need to use every opportunity to share the knowledge and expertise of our farming community and others. Putting Scotland’s products on a global stage is the important service we deliver to our farmers and processors.”

Among other events lined up over the next few months is a trip by a group of Italian butchers. The 30-strong delegation will visit shops and processors. It is hoped the outcome will be increased sales in Italy.

“Market development is always about networking,” said Gordon. “If we engage with key contacts in international markets, we have an opportunity to develop new business and drive value throughout our Scottish supply chain.”

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