Farm visit highlights importance of diversification

Rachael Hamilton MSP visited Whitriggs Farm near Denholm to see the excellent work being carried out by farmers to diversify.

Whitriggs Farm kindly hosted a Walk and Talk organised by Scottish Land and Estates, which showed visitors farm diversification and succession.

Whitriggs Farm, near Denholm is run by Robert and Lesley Mitchell and their son Stuart. The Mitchells, were keen to develop their farm business and safeguard it for future generations. Currently the farm consists of 442 hectares of mainly semi-permanent and permanent grassland. They also grow approximately 40 hectares of winter wheat and oats for feeding their stock.

The Mitchells have 170 suckler cows, which are a combination of Beef Shorthorn cross and Aberdeen Angus cross, as well as recently diversifying into farming 200 red deer. This is the Mitchells’ final year of being a Borders Monitor farm.

Farm diversification is not guaranteed to boost your farming business and can be a complex process, but can also be very rewarding.

 

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:

“The Walk and Talk day at the Mitchell’s farm was fascinating and it is clear that farm diversification is the best way to future proof a farm for generations to come.

“The Mitchell’s are really embracing the future direction of travel in farming, from pond creation to water margins, promoting and protecting the natural environment is part of ensuring low carbon agriculture.

“The Scottish Government must do more to encourage diversification, as there is so much untapped potential out there, and farmers are always willing to work hard to make a success of their business.

“With farm incomes falling, farm diversification is becoming increasingly more attractive as a way for farmers to enhance their farming business.

“I want to thank Scottish Land and Estates for organising the day in conjunction with the Mitchell Family”.